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Starlink speed ‘beats fixed in Canada and Europe’, says Ookla

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SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service is providing better broadband than fixed rivals in Europe and Canada, and comparable to fixed in the US.

Ookla’s latest Speedtest Intelligence survey shows that Starlink, with low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that are 500-1200km high, is beating geosynchronous (GEO) providers such as HughesNet and Viasat.

The company reports: “Starlink was the only satellite internet provider in the United States with fixed-broadband-like latency figures, and median download speeds fast enough to handle most of the needs of modern online life.”

Ookla did not cover OneWeb in its survey of satellite speeds: OneWeb is due to start its commercial services later this year. 

In the US, customers are getting a median download speed of 97.23Mbps, says Ookla, which compares with the 115.22Mbps median for all fixed broadband providers in the US. But that’s not available everywhere, notes Ookla. Starlink “beats digging 20 miles (or more) of trench to hook up to local infrastructure”.

Starlink’s median upload speed was 13.89Mbps, says the survey, close to fixed broadband’s 17.18Mbps.

North of the border, Ookla shows that Starlink’s median download speed exceeded that of fixed broadband in Canada (86.92Mbps versus 84.24Mbps), “making Starlink a reasonable alternative to fixed broadband in Canada”.

Starlink’s median upload speed was slower than fixed broadband, at 13.63Mbps compared with 17.76Mbps.

European figures in the survey show Starlink far ahead of the fixed broadband competition.

In France, Starlink customers are getting 139.39 Mbps download speed, which “easily beat the country-wide average for fixed broadband of 70.81Mbps”, says Ookla. “Starlink’s upload speed was slower than the fixed broadband average, but still respectable”, at 29.35Mbps compared with 52.56Mbps.

In Germany, “Starlink far surpasses local fixed broadband”, says the survey, which reports for the second quarter of 2021. “Starlink’s median download and upload speeds were much faster than the country averages for fixed broadband.”

In the UK, “Starlink showed a much faster median download speed”, achieving a median of 108.30Mbps, double the country’s average for fixed broadband, which was 50.14Mbps. Upload was also faster, at 15.64Mbps compared with 14.76 Mbps.

Ookla points out that latency from Starlink is “pretty good”, at 37ms. “This brings Starlink closer to contender status for consumers across the UK, not just those stranded in internet-free zones in northern Scotland, once the service interruptions are under control.”

Interruptions appear to be a factor of the number of satellites Starlink has still to launch. Ookla notes: “It also shows that, because satellite internet is not constrained by the infrastructure of a given country, there is the potential to radically outperform fixed broadband.”

 

 

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