Starlink’s internet has become very popular recently, especially in rural areas.
It also has an RV and business package. Currently, RVers can use the Starlink internet anywhere within the same continent.
Starlink also provides service to commercial airlines, cruise ships, and government entities such as US militaries.
This article explores whether the Starlink internet will slow down with more customers and a few other important topics related to this service.
Will Starlink Slow Down With More Users?
Several companies now provide satellite internet, such as Starlink, HughesNet, and Viasat. Amazon is also working on its satellite internet project named Kuiper.
HughesNet and Viasat have been in the internet business for a long time. However, their internet service is very slow, expensive, and unreliable. Over the years, their service has gotten worse.
Currently, all users on the Starlink program get an internet speed of more than 100Mbps down and 10MBps up. There is also no data cap.
On the contrary, HughesNet and Vaisat’s advertised internet speed is 25Mbps. However, practically the internet speed is slower than 10Mbps down.
Moreover, during peak time, the speed worsens and becomes even slower. We sometimes experienced as low as 1Mpbs on a 25Mbps plan.
HughesNet and Viasat take every customer who wants to sign up. Even though they have only a handful of geostationary satellites, they didn’t limit how many customers they would take. As a result, as more people signed up for their internet, the slower it got.
Over the years, Starlink has become very popular. Therefore, many current customers fear the Starlink internet will slow down with more users.
However, the answer is no. Starlink will not slow down with more customers.
HughesNet, Viasat, and other satellite internet providers don’t have the in-house infrastructure and technology to build their service. They rely on third parties for satellites, rocket launches, and operations. As the entire process is costly, HughesNet and other companies try to use a minimum number of satellites but take the maximum number of customers.
On the contrary, SpaceX makes their Starlink satellites and launches them. They have already launched more than thousands of satellites and are planning to launch additional tens of thousands of satellites.
In comparison, HughesNet and Viasat have less than 10 internet satellites combined.
Therefore, Starlink’s capacity is way more than its competitors. Thus, the Starlink internet will not slow down with more users.
Like the mobile tower and its associated cell, Starlink satellites also have a cell with a diameter of 15 miles. SpaceX has put a limit on how many customers can sign up in a given cell. Starlink will stop signing up new customers if a particular region reaches capacity.
Starlink is actively trying to provide high-speed internet to all customers, and they are doing it by limiting the number of customers in a given area.
In many areas, when new customers go to signup, Starlink shows the message “Starlink at capacity in your area.” This message means the area you live in has too many Starlink customers, and SpaceX isn’t taking any more new users to protect the service quality.
Therefore, if new customers can sign up, it means that that area isn’t at capacity yet, and Starlink can give at least 100 Mbps internet speed to each user. Therefore, Starlink will not slow down with more customers.
In contrast, HughesNet and Viasat don’t do this. They will take every customer they can get. They don’t care whether the service deteriorates or not.
Will Starlink Cover the Whole World?
Starlink is a global satellite internet service that will cover the entire world. It uses thousands of satellites to provide fast broadband internet from space. You can visit the Starlink website to get the current service coverage map.
If your phone is equipped with a GPS sensor, you can pinpoint your exact location on earth. Similarly, if you have a Starlink terminal, you can get internet anywhere in the world without any issue.
However, Starlink will not operate in many countries and regions due to local legal limitations. For example, China and Russia will not allow Starlink in their countries. Thus, Starlink will never get a license to operate in those regions.
Even though it’s theoretically possible to get Starlink internet in that area, Starlink will not provide service.
Moreover, in many regions, users won’t be able to afford Starlink. It’s too expensive for many.
Starlink will be more helpful in developing countries where internet infrastructure doesn’t exist. However, due to the high initial cost and monthly subscription fee, many people in those regions will not be able to use Starlink.
SpaceX is currently selling their Starlink Dish at a loss. It’s estimated that each phased array antenna that SpaceX ships costs around $2,000 to produce, but SpaceX charges around $600 per customer. Therefore, they expect those customers to use Starlink for a long time; hence, SpaceX will be able to recoup the initial loss.
Starlink is also not meant for cities where population density is higher. In cities where cable internet is already present, Starlink isn’t a good alternative. Starlink is the best choice for rural areas where there’s no cable internet.
Why is Starlink Owned by Elon Musk?
SpaceX is the parent company of Starlink. Both companies are private and aren’t in the stock market yet. It’s estimated that SpaceX has a current market value of more than $100 billion and is one of the most valued private companies in the world.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX and holds the majority of share and voting power. He is the owner, founder, and CEO of SpaceX. SpaceX holds Starlink’s entire ownership; it’s why Elon Musk indirectly owns Starlink.
Elon Musk has previously said that Starlink will go public when it reaches consistent profitability. Until then, SpaceX will focus on improving Starlink’s technology, customer base, and customer satisfaction.
Elon Musk is the brainchild of both SpaceX and Starlink. He created the product Starlink to make additional revenue sources for SpaceX.
Space launch business is very capital intensive, requires a lot of investment but has minimal profit potential. Moreover, the potential revenue amount is also meager.
Elon’s primary goal for creating SpaceX was to make a rocket that could carry humans to Mars. They are currently working on a Mars rocket named Starship.
This Starship project is very costly for SpaceX. The amount of money SpaceX is bringing in by launching satellites isn’t enough to fund the Starship projects. They needed another revenue source.
It’s why Elon Musk started the Starlink project at SpaceX. Starlink will provide global satellite internet. As billions of people on earth still don’t have the internet, it’s a lucrative business if done correctly.
The Starlink project’s proceeds will go directly to SpaceX’s starship project.
Therefore, Elon Musk created SpaceX and started the Starlink project. It’s why he owns Starlink.
Amazon is also trying to make its own satellite broadband internet service, Project Kuiper. However, their progress is very sluggish and isn’t impressive. So far, they are far behind their project schedule.
Will Starlink Speeds Get Faster?
SpaceX is launching Starlink satellites each week. They have a plan to launch more than 40,000 satellites to provide worldwide internet access.
The current Starlink customers are getting an average of 100 Mbps speed. So, will the Starlink speed get faster in the future when SpaceX activates more satellites?
Yes. Starlink internet will get faster and have more coverage and capacity as more satellites are added to the constellation.
However, Starlink retail customers aren’t going to get the extra speed.
Starlink has business packages where they offer higher speed internet. They also provide service to cruise ships, government agencies, the US military, US Airforce, and commercial airlines. Starlink provides them with faster speed.
Therefore, as more and more satellites are added to the network, Starlink will get faster but commercial businesses will get the extra high speed. As a general consumer, our Starlink internet speed will remain at the current level.