Starlink beta users in rural UK have shared their insights on the satellite internet service, particularly with regards to how it compares to their previous web providers. Based on the reception of the service so far, it appears that Starlink is already touching lives for the better, especially among those who have been forced to endure painfully slow internet connections from conventional ISPs.
While addressing the PA news agency, Bredgar, Kent resident Aaron Wilkes noted that his household’s fixed internet line was supposed to provide him with speeds of about 20 Mbps. That was already significantly lower than the 71.8 Mbps national average reported by Ofcom for May 2020, but things were actually a lot worse. According to Wilkes, his internet service usually lagged between 0.5 to 1 Mbps, making it extremely challenging to perform simple tasks such as streaming videos on Netflix.
After installing Starlink, Wilkes’ internet connection averaged 175 Mbps, with the satellite system going as high as 215 Mbps. This was enough not only for streaming video content, but even downloading games as well. “The ability to be able to download content so quickly compared to our standard BT line is amazing,” the Bredgar resident said.
Granted, Starlink’s monthly rate is relatively high at £90 per month, but for many users, this is a price worth paying for proper internet connectivity. This was a point highlighted by Martin Langmaid, who set up the satellite internet system for his mother’s house near the Devon village of Dunsford. “She moved into the countryside to be nearer to my brother, who is a farmer. Modern-day business requires internet. You can’t get away from it, so that’s what she needed. If you need connectivity to run a business and if you need connectivity for communication, particularly in COVID times, £90 a month is quite justifiable,” Langmaid said.
Considering Starlink’s early stages, both Wilkes and Langmaid have noted that the satellite internet system does encounter downtimes from time to time, just as warned by SpaceX for the ongoing Beta. However, these downtimes have been getting shorter as of late, which suggests that the system is improving at a rapid pace. Wilkes noted that initially, he would see up to 127 minutes of downtime in one day, but now, the downtimes usually last just about 4-5 minutes per day. The Starlink user added that the downtimes typically happen overnight as well, which means that he barely notices them.
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