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Starlink ‘slowing down’, says Ookla, as SpaceX launches 52 more

Starlink Premium antenna.jpg

Internet speed monitor Ookla has found that speeds from SpaceX’s broadband satellite service Starlink is slowing down.

Its latest survey says download speeds for Starlink fell across Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US, dropping between 9% and 54% between the second quarter of 2021 and the same period in 2022.

The cause is “more users signed up for the service”, says Ookla, adding: “However, Starlink still reached a median download speed of at least 60Mbps in North America during Q2 2022, which is more than enough for at least one connected device to do most everything on the internet including streaming video, downloading games, and chatting on video with friends and family.”

At the same time SpaceX has continued its programme of launching more and more Starlink satellites. Another 52 went into orbit on Saturday evening from Cape Canaveral, taking the total in service to more than 3,400. Starlink is a retail service, distributing dishes (pictured) to customers around the world.

The latest Ookla survey covers Europe, Oceania, North America and South America, and also compares two other satellite providers, HughesNet and Viasat.

“Upload speeds also slowed on Starlink,” notes Ookla, “with speeds decreasing across all of the countries we’ve tracked over the past year.”

Latency remained “relatively flat”, in most countries, but was “high when compared to fixed broadband”. Except in New Zealand, where latency dropped to 23ms.

“For most users, we still suspect these dips are still worthwhile for areas that have no service, slow service, or few affordable options for fast internet,” said the Ookla report.

One of the best performing areas was Puerto Rico, “the fastest satellite internet in North America during Q2 2022”, where the company measured a median download speed of 112.22Mbps. Performance will be worse this week as most of the US colony’s power grid was wrecked by Hurricane Fiona.

Mexico had a median speed of 80.17Mbps, Canada was 75.73Mbps, and the mainland US was 62.53 Mbps.

“Starlink in Puerto Rico and Mexico was faster than their countries’ fixed broadband providers combined,” said Ookla. In the US fixed broadband delivers 150.12Mbps and in Canada it is 106.41Mbps, “faster than each country’s satellite providers”.

In 16 countries in Europe, Starlink outperforms fixed broadband median download speed and reached download speeds of over 100Mbps in 10 countries.