SpaceX recently got rid of the unlimited data policy for its Starlink satellite internet service and introduced a tiered system of priority access where users who consume more than 1 terabyte per month during peak hours are deprioritized until they pay extra. The total number of US counties where Starlink had at least 10 unique users in the third quarter increased twice compared to the third quarter of last year, however the uptick in non-central counties was 300%, indicating strong interest in the service in more rural areas. .
However, while ever-growing Starlink subscriptions in rural areas across the US show that Elon Musk’s satellite internet has been a boon to connectivity there, the expansion is adding more and more users to his star clusters. As a result, average download speeds for Starlink Internet in the US fell again by 17% from the second quarter to the third quarter, market research firm Ookla reports. A similar decrease of 14% was also observed in Canada.
Starlink speeds in the US were 50 Mbps in the July quarter, while Canada’s SpaceX satellite internet amassed 65.8 Mbps. This is several times lower than fixed broadband in those countries, however, and the decline is more even from Q1 to Q2. In North America, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands had the fastest Starlink, while in South America it was Brazil and Chile.
In some of the new countries added to Starlink’s coverage list last quarter — like the US Virgin Islands or the Dominican Republic — satellite internet was actually much faster than fixed broadband services there. Even in countries like Norway, Starlink’s download speeds were in the ballpark of its fixed broadband. Where SpaceX’s satellites can’t compete with terrestrial broadband, though, low orbit or not, is latency, which was much higher across all countries in Starlink’s Q3 survey of internet speed.
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Daniel has been obsessed with technology since the industrial espionage of Apple computers and Nintendo’s pixelated times, and he went and opened a gaming club when PCs and consoles were still an expensive rarity. Nowadays, the magic isn’t about specs and speed but the way of life that the computers in our pockets, our home, and our cars have distorted, from endless scrolling and privacy risks to authenticating every part and move of our existence.