Rural Internet Tech Thoughts

Starlink Beta. Thoughts

I have been on the Starlink beta list for about a year now. While I am going to try and make the 4G work (because I have no choice), once the deal closes I will also put my deposit down for the Starlink beta. It looks like the minimum wait for the service will be about six months from the date of signup so hopefully it will be up by the end of 2021.

Pricing for Starlink Beta is set at $99.00 a month with no data caps. Compared to most terrestrial connections this is not an excellent deal by any means, but compared to wireless (4G / 5G) that typically include ridiculously low data caps, this is an absolute bargain. The catch here being of course that for Starlink you need a hefty sized dish and quite a bit of electricity to power it 24×7, so comparing that to 4/5G wireless is not really fair either. Star link at the moment is also considered a fixed wireless service. They have made some notices about testing a mobile / roaming version but for now they expect it to be fixed at the address provided. It strikes me as odd that they would build an amazingly complicated dish that can auto-fix onto a satellite but not want anyone to try that with a mobile connection.

Right now the bigger problem with Starlink appears to be coverage. The United States and even more so Canada has coverage / line of sight to Starlink satellites for service. The problem is that with the current number of satellites deployed there is not coverage for 100% of the day. Here around Houston Texas I would get coverage 75% of the day. As each payload of satellites are blasted into space this will eventually fill out to 100%. In Canada they are already closer to that number. You can use this awesome tool to look at estimated coverage in your area.

I look forward to Starlink, but more for the friction it will cause in the 4/5G wireless space. For incredibly remote places Starlink will open up some new opportunities. This is also so disruptive it will likely benefit the general public, even if they are not paying any attention at all to Starlink.

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