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Starlink satellite Internet download speeds stall with subscriber growth

Starlink speeds dropped in Q3 (image: SpaceX)
Starlink speeds dropped in Q3 (image: SpaceX)
Elon Musk recently dismissed the idea for a Starlink IPO in 2024 as SpaceX is focusing on the service expansion and financials of its satellite Internet service. The unprecedented Starlink subscriber growth, however, has stunted its performance this past quarter.

SpaceX keeps launching satellites to ensure more robust Internet coverage and availability as its Starlink subscriber base grows exponentially, with dishes now sold even at Costco. There are now over 5,000 SpaceX satellites in low-earth orbit, and Starlink gradually started removing its speed limits or geo restrictions earlier this year.

For example, the Best Effort tier subscribers who came lowest in the waitlist pecking order got bumped to the faster Residential tier for free, while SpaceX also nixed its speed throttling intentions for high-volume users on standard Home plans.

There are now more than 2 million Starlink satellite Internet subscribers, though, and SpaceX keeps adding business or roaming users with higher data consumption at higher prices. This faster pace of subscriber growth has apparently ground the Internet speed increases to a halt.

Starlink download speeds

According to Ookla's newest satellite Internet Speedtest report for the US, the median Starlink download speed in the US has not only stopped growing with the pace it experienced in the past few quarters, but has actually dipped slightly.

In Q3 of this year, Starlink speeds throughout the US clocked in at 64.54 Mbps, a tad lower number than the previous quarter. Starlink still notched increased download speeds year-on-year, though, while its upload speeds of 9.72 Mbps and 60 ms latency numbers continued to improve.

These results come despite the doubling of its subscribers base, so SpaceX apparently keeps finding a good balance of satellite capacity and coverage with the data consumption rate of its clients. Moreover, towards the tail end of Q3, Starlink satellite Internet download speeds started edging up again.

In October and November they notched record 75+ Mbps, so when the Q4 tests are out they should demonstrate that Starlink may have restored its quarter-on-quarter performance pace, all the while it now offers increased satellite Internet coverage and availability.

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Q3 may have been slow, but Q4 notches record median Starlink download speeds (graph: Ookla)
Q3 may have been slow, but Q4 notches record median Starlink download speeds (graph: Ookla)


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 12 > Starlink satellite Internet download speeds stall with subscriber growth
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-12-12 (Update: 2023-12-12)