Starlink satellite Internet download speeds in the US and Canada drop by double digits again
SpaceX recently did away with the unlimited data policy of its Starlink satellite Internet service and introduced a tiered system for priority access where users who consume more than 1TB a month in peak hours would get deprioritized until they pay extra. The overall number of US counties where Starlink had at least 10 unique users in Q3 rose two times from the third quarter of last year, yet the rise in non-metro counties was 300%, indicating a high interest in the service in more rural areas.
Still, while the ever-growing Starlink subscriptions in rural areas across the US show that Elon Musk's satellite Internet has been a boon for connectivity there, the expansion adds more and more users on its constellations. As a result, the median download speeds of Starlink's Internet in the US dropped again by 17% from Q2 to Q3, reports market research firm Ookla. A similar drop of 14% was observed in Canada as well.
Starlink speeds in the US were 50 Mbps in the July quarter, while in Canada SpaceX's satellite Internet mustered 65.8 Mbps. That's several times lower than fixed broadband in those countries, yet a more leveled drop than from Q1 to Q2. In North America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had the fastest Starlink, while in South America those were Brasil and Chile.
In some of the new countries added to Starlink's coverage roster last quarter - like the U.S. Virgin Islands or the Dominican Republic - its satellite Internet was actually much faster than the fixed broadband services there. Even in countries like Norway, Starlink's download speeds were in the ballpark of its fixed broadband. Where SpaceX's satellites can't compete with terrestrial broadband, though, low orbit or not, is latency, as it was much higher in all countries in the Q3 Starlink Internet speeds survey.