Why it matters: Starlink Internet service is becoming popular among consumers seeking satellite connectivity as an alternative to traditional Internet service providers or in underserved/unserved regions. That is great news for SpaceX but the increased signups are having a negative impact on the platform’s speed.
According to the latest data from web testing firm Ookla, median download speeds for Starlink fell in France, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US from the second quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. The dip ranged in severity from between nine percent and 54 percent.
In the US, the media download speed was just north of 60 Mbps. Ookla said that is more than enough for at least one connected device to perform common tasks on the Internet like download games, stream video, and video chat with friends and family.
Among North American regions, Puerto Rico registered the fastest Starlink download speed with a median of 112.22 Mbps. Mexico had the highest Starlink media upload speed at 14.48 Mbps.
It is not just downloads that slowed. Ookla said upload speeds decreased across every country they have tracked over the last year. Latency mostly remained flat year over year, and they are slower than what you would get with a traditional fixed broadband connection for obvious reasons.
Last month, T-Mobile announced a partnership to use Starlink satellites to blanket the US with text message coverage. Beta testing is expected to start by the end of 2023 in select regions. Cruise ship giant Royal Caribbean also announced plans to become the first in the industry to adopt Starlink’s technology. Royal is already in the process of installing the tech on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, along with all new vessels for each brand.
Apple, meanwhile, partnered with rival Globalstar to power its Emergency SOS via satellite service on new iPhones. The feature, which will be free for the first two years, is expected to debut in November.