Starlink Shames Broadband & Boosts U.S Download Speeds By 20%

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Space exploration Technologies Corporation's (SpaceX) Starlink satellite internet service is continuing to outpace broadband internet when it comes to delivering download speeds globally. This revelation comes courtesy of the internet speed testing firm Ookla, which just released its latest report earlier today. This report lists down Ookla's Speedtest results for the fourth quarter of last year, and it shows that for the majority of countries surveyed globally, Starlink was the top performer in internet speeds. For the United States, in particular, the service demonstrated a noticeable increase in its median download speeds over the previous quarter, but its performance varied from county to county.

Starlink Delivers ~105 Mbps Median Download Speed In U.S. During Q4 2021 Reveals Speedtest Data

Speedtest's latest report covers 18 countries including the United States, and for the majority, Starlink has beaten median download speeds. A median download speed represents most of the data, and it discounts the outliers in order to provide a reliable gauge of performance.

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For the U.S., SpaceX's internet service delivered a median download speed of 104.97 Mbps in Q4 2021, up from 87.25 Mbps that it had delivered in the third quarter of the same year. This marks a 20% quarterly increase, which is significant and shows the impact of adding more satellites and fine-tuning the software used by the Starlink dishes. More importantly, it reverses the trend shown by the internet service in Q3, when it exhibited a quarterly drop in median speeds. Back then, Speedtest's data had revealed that the median download speeds had dropped by 10% over the 97.23 Mbps for Q2 2021.

However, the range between the highest and lowest speeds in the U.S. continued to be disproportionately high. The fourth-quarter data shows that the range stood at 130Mbps. The fastest median download speed was in Florida's Miami Dade County (191.08 Mbps) while the lowest was in Oregon's Columbia County (64.95 Mbps). This range increased by a whopping 30% in Q4 over Q3, when it had stood at 100 Mbps. Back then, the fastest median download speed was in Santa Fe County, New Mexico (146.58 Mbps) while the slowest was in Drumond Township, Michigan (46.63 Mbps).

Starlink's Q4 2021 median download speeds compared to other satellite internet providers and fixed broadband. Image: Speedtest/Ookla

Moving forward from the U.S. to Starlink's global performance, Q4 was another strong quarter for the SpaceX subsidiary. Out of the 17 countries (excluding the U.S.) surveyed by Ookla, Starlink outperformed all fixed internet providers in 14 countries. The starkest difference was in Australia, where, as outlined by Speedtest, Starlink nearly tripled the median download speeds over fixed broadband. The median fixed download speed in Australia stood at 51.35 Mbps, while Starlink delivered an eye-popping speed of 141.55 Mbps - faster than its speeds in the United States.

Data for Canada also revealed a striking difference, where a median Starlink download speed of 106.64 Mbps significantly outpaced median broadband speeds of 96.39 Mbps. Performance analysis for the United Kingdom revealed that Starlink more than doubled the fixed median speed of 57.66 Mbps by delivering 121.94 Mbps.

Its performance in Germany was equally strong, as the Starlink speeds stood at 115.58 Mbps while the fixed speeds stood at 65.86 Mbps. Two other countries where Starlink left fixed broadband in the dust were Austria and Belgium. For the former, it was 131.844 Mbps for Starlink vs 50.33 Mbps for fixed, while for the latter it was 155.15 Mbps for the satellite service while fixed internet providers stood at 76.94Mbps.

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A noticeable exception was Chile, where the fixed broadband speeds of 168.92 Mbps were simply too much for Starlink's 118.95 Mbps to overcome.

Today's data is crucial as it reveals how Starlink has managed to sustain a strong performance level when competing against fixed internet services globally. This is a $1 trillion market according to statements made by SpaceX president Ms. Gwynne Shotwell, and the results show that as SpaceX continues to build out the satellite internet constellation, its service should improve over time given the constraints of user density and satellite coverage are kept in mind.

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