Starlink Expects to Expand Service in 2023

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While it’s not the first company to test Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, Starlink is making waves in the telecom industry for its residential beta program launched in 2020. If successful, Starlink could help improve internet speeds and reliability for millions of Americans in remote and rural areas where traditional satellite internet providers haven’t been able to.

According to a tweet on January 15, 2022, as many as “1,469 Starlink satellites” are currently active, with 272 more currently in the process of moving towards operational orbits. Starlink is currently taking reservations; however, the equipment may not ship until sometime in 2023. You will receive a notice that your Starlink is ready to ship.

Though Starlink’s service may sound “out of this world,” the truth is that it’s not entirely different from other satellite internet providers like HughesNet or Viasat. Satellite internet is delivered to customers using satellite dishes that bounce signals between three points: the home, the provider, and a dish in space.

The biggest difference between traditional GEO satellites and Starlink’s LEO satellites is the distance they are from Earth.

GEO (Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit) satellites – which Hughesnet and Viasat use – float in orbit about 22,000 miles from the surface of the earth. On the other hand, LEO satellites float about 1,000 miles in orbit. Since they are much closer to Earth, the time it takes for internet signals to travel from a home satellite to one in space is significantly shorter. This is how Starlink is able to provide faster download speeds and lower latency than other satellite companies.

According to SpaceX, Starlink has more than 145,000 users in 25 countries across the globe. However, it’s only available in select regions in the United States, Canada, and certain areas abroad at this time. That said, its coverage map will only continue to expand with the launch of more operational satellites.

Additionally, Starlink noted its hopes to someday blanket the entire planet in usable, high-speed WiFi service that could completely revolutionize internet access. SpaceX is also forming deals with various airlines interested in installing Starlink service, per reports in a Twitter exchange in October of 2021.

Screenshot of Elon Musk's tweet about Starlink on airlines

Starlink is one the more expensive side when compared to the costs of other internet providers. But, you will own the equipment, and Starlink holds a lot of promise in terms of speed and latency potential.

To officially get Starlink internet service, customers must pay:

  • An equipment cost of $599 (plus shipping and fees)
  • A monthly cost of $110 for continued service

For comparison, many other internet providers like AT&T, Frontier, and Xfinity offer high-speed internet for under $50 per month. However, these providers do not have the wide availability satellite internet providers offer.

While the costs of a Starlink membership are exorbitant, experts and Starlink representatives note that the price will eventually come down as they get a better handle on the production of their technology.

Until then, Starlink users can at least take comfort in knowing that they’ll be receiving a wide range of advantages.

Starlink users:

  • Will receive improved internet performance in poor and extreme weather conditions
  • Can access prioritized support from Starlink 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Are not hindered by the limitations of long-term contracts
  • Do not have to worry about hard data caps or other exclusivity requirements
  • Have bandwidth available for the most critical services, even if the network is under heavy use at any given time
  • Have double the antenna capacity
  • Can easily stream videos, game online, and work remotely in rural areas without latency or speed issues typically of satellite internet service

Starlink is currently taking reservations, but the equipment may not ship until 2023.

Other Rural Internet Options 

Not everybody can afford a Starlink membership with its expensive tiers. Thankfully, there is a wide range of alternative rural internet options in remote areas.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over 99% of people in the US have access to at least 2 providers near them. The four most common rural connections include DSL, satellite internet, fixed-wireless, or dial-up.

  • Satellite internet
  • 2-year fixed pricing
  • No hard data caps
  • Fast satellite internet
  • Ideal for rural areas
  • Up to 3x faster than DSL*

Availability depends entirely on your location, which you can determine using our zip search tool. You can access all of the data you need to compare internet service providers near you and find the best choice for your family.

Final Thoughts

While Starlink’s satellite internet service is exciting, the cost and availability right now don’t make it very accessible to customers. While Starlink is currently taking reservations, the equipment may not ship until 2023. You’ll be notified by Starlink once your equipment is ready to ship.

If you need a solution in the meantime, we recommend checking out other reliable satellite and rural internet options available today. Depending on where you live, we can help you find the best internet deal near you.

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Marla Milano
Marla is a Contributing Writer for HighSpeedOptions, assisting in HighSpeedOptions’ coverage of satellite internet, streaming, and TV content. She comes with five years of experience writing for lifestyle and tech brands across multiple industries and has a BA in Marketing and MA in Digital Communication and Media Arts from DePaul University. Marla is passionate about not only integrating a creative edge into her work but also pulling data-driven insights to enhance her thought process.