If you live in North East and you don’t have access to broadband internet where you live or work, you’re probably tired of hearing that “it’s coming.” You can certainly wait for one of the cable or fiber providers to make their way to your location, sometime, someday, or you can take matters into your own hands and sign up for Starlink.
Starlink is Elon Musk’s satellite internet company. While everyone else is talking about expanding broadband access, Musk is doing something about it. He is launching a lot of satellites, 60 at a time in a single rocket, and building them into a huge and growing constellation. His intention is to blanket the earth with high speed internet, but it’s already working for residents of the northern USA. It’s pretty amazing.
The satellites, when on station are 340 miles above the earth, compared to 22,000 miles for geostationary satellites used for TV and other communications. This means the time it takes for signals to travel to and from the satellite is much shorter decreasing delays.
These LEO (low earth orbit) satellites move over your location and your dish automatically connects to the satellite in view and then transfers to the next one at the proper time. You don’t need to worry about it, the electronics do it all.
At this time, there are a limited number of users in any given area and as the number of satellites increases, more users will be possible and connection speeds will increase a lot, though even now, it ranges from 50 Mb/s to 150Mb/s down and 20 Mb/s up.
The cost is $499 for the user installed base station, which is the tripod, dish, router, cables and power supply. The service is $99 per month thereafter. Orders are fulfilled on a first come, first served basis until the number of user slots for your area is reached.
You need to have a clear view of a portion of the sky in order to see the satellites as they pass overhead, a 100 degree cone of sky from the center of the dish at least 25 degrees above the horizon. For some, this is a deal breaker, but it’s a requirement.
Based on user reviews, if all you want to do with your internet connection is watch videos all day or play online games, the occasional dropouts or slowdowns might be a problem, but if you have no broadband now and are unlikely to get it any time soon, this could be just the ticket.
So, if you’re in the outlying areas of North East Township or up in Greenfield Township and you’re tired of waiting for the broadband connection that may be coming someday, sign up at Starlink and see if a slot is available for you. After that, you won’t need to worry about whether cable or fiber ever gets there.