Elon Musk’s Starlink sees average download speeds fall as more users join

Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink has generated a lot of excitement around its potential to bring internet connectivity to some of the most remote parts of the world, but if you want to be taken seriously at home in the US. In the US, you may want to take note of a recent drop in your average download speeds.

A report by Ookla, a website that tests the speed of Internet providers, shows that download speeds for SpaceX Corp.-owned Starlink decreased to an average of 87 megabytes per second in the third quarter, compared to a 97 Mbps maximum three months prior.

Elon’s satellites are slowing down, and Ookla says the likely reason for the slowdown is that it is adding more clients than it can keep up with. The service currently has around 140,000 users, up from 100,000 in August 2021.

The good news for Starlink is that it is still well ahead of its satellite Internet competitors Hughes Network Systems LLC and Viasat Corp. Both services are four times slower, hovering around 20 Mbps.

It’s also worth noting that Starlink has big ambitions to expand its satellite constellation. It currently has about 1,700 in orbit, but ultimately plans to soar more than 30,000 in the skies, at which point it promises it will be able to offer ultra-fast connectivity. Ookla says that Starlink is planning 36 launches of multiple Gen2 satellites in 2022.

Starlink also has no performance issues when it comes to other territories around the world. Ookla said that in Canada, Starlink connectivity is so fast that it is a viable alternative to fixed broadband and, in many parts of the country, even faster than local services.

Starlink’s download speeds were also faster than the best fixed broadband services in the UK, France, Germany and New Zealand, Ookla said.

Of course, it’s not just the speed, but the price that affects the convenience of the service, and while Starlink may seem competitive in the US and Canada, most Europeans would not agree. Starlink costs 99 euros ($ 112) a month in France, for example, while most fixed broadband providers start at 30 euros or less.

Image: Starlink

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