Starlink’s download speeds declined over the last year

Tech

According to Ookla, the firm behind SpeedTest, median download speeds for Space X’s satellite internet operation Starlink fell across Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, and the US in Q2.

The decline in download speeds ranged between 9% and 54% between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022, and occurred as more customers joined Starlink, claims Ookla. Upload speeds also slowed on Starlink’s service, with speeds decreasing across all of the countries it tracks.

The report does however point out that Starlink still reached a median download speed of at least 60 Mbps in North America during Q2 2022, ‘which is more than enough for at least one connected device to do most everything on the internet.’

In terms of geographical rankings, Starlink in Puerto Rico had the fastest satellite internet in North America during the period with a median download speed of 112.22 Mbps, followed by Mexico with 80.17 Mbps, Canada with 75.73 Mbps, and the US with 62.53 Mbps. His apparently means in Puerto Rico and Mexico, downloads on Starlink were faster than their countries’ fixed broadband providers.

In Europe Starlink was fastest in terms of median download speeds in Portugal at 123.01 Mbps, the Netherlands at 122.43 Mbps, Austria at 112.01 Mbps, France at 110.98 Mbps, and Belgium at 110.40 Mbps. However we’re told all satellite providers fell far behind fixed broadband providers in the whole of Europe for latency during Q2 2022.

The report also notes Starlink’s recent big announcement alongside T-Mobile in which it promised satellite based internet connectivity without the need for a specialised handset: “Satellite connectivity is coming to mobile, with Starlink’s new partnership with T-Mobile and new mobile devices becoming satellite enabled. This will cause ripples across North America, which is a net positive for consumers who live in areas with low mobile and fixed broadband connectivity. Connecting with the world won’t be a question of how anymore, it will be a question of how good your experience is. That’s hopefully a win-win for consumers, especially as more providers vie for the fastest and best satellite experience — a true global space race.”

As we said at the time, there’s an awful lot of questions remaining from the bombastic launch event, which promised the earth but was pretty slim on any tangible details. The project will apparently enable phones on T-Mobile’s network get hooked up to Starlink which they claim will provide coverage ‘even in many of the most remote locations previously unreachable by traditional cell signals.’

However the firms only appear to be talking about texting at the moment, and only in certain areas of the US – and the closest thing we got to a launch date is that it ‘will enter beta we believe as soon as late next year.’ The whole thing really felt like a very soft launch and its hard to say much more about it until we get something more concrete from them.

There are a lot of satellite firms active at the moment making grand promises of providing connectivity to every inch of the earth’s surface. Fair enough, but how big the market is for hooking up mountain tops and polar expanses, or anywhere else that for some reason is out of the reach of terrestrial towers, is another question.

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