Wanting to know what all the Starlink fuzz is about? Or still on the fence whether you should get your hands on a kit? Look now further.
I’ve been using Starlink for the past few months and can safely say that, barring access to fiber connectivity, it is far and beyond the best options for anyone living in rural areas.
Should you still want to continue with this review, then expect to learn about Starlink basics such as speed or pricing, what pros and cons it entails, how well it performs in my home continent of Europe, and whether I think purchasing Starlink is worth it.
The Basics: How Much Starlink Costs & What Speed It Offers
First of all: if you want to understand how the whole Starlink ecosystem works, then I’d instruct you to check out the following articles:
- What Starlink is and how it works technologically
- How Starlink makes money
- Who actually owns Starlink
The price you pay and the speed you experience are ultimately dependent on your chosen plan as well as your registered service address.
Here’s what prices subscribers are paying for the Residential service across Starlink’s most popular markets (per month):
- United States: US$90 (excess capacity area) – US$120 (limited capacity area) + US$599 for hardware
- Australia: AU$139 + AU$399 for hardware
- United Kingdom: £75 + £449 for hardware
- Canada: CA$140 + CA$199 for hardware
- Mexico: MX$1,100 + MX$8,300
- Germany: €65 + €450 for hardware
For a detailed overview of what Starlink charges in the 60+ markets it is available in, please refer to our global price overview.
And if you’re subscribed to Residential, then all of those markets should provide you with download speeds of 25 Mbps or more.
Starlink recently updated its availability map to include download and upload speeds as well as latency, which you can check out under the following link.
As you can see, literally every state boasts at least 25 Mbps, with some even reaching triple-digit download speeds.
Keep in mind that performance varies throughout the day. If you conduct a speed test during peak hours (i.e., 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.), you’ll likely experience slower download and upload speeds.
That’s because each satellite has only a limited amount of bandwidth it can provide, with said bandwidth having to be distributed among a set number of users.
Consequently, the more people are trying to access the internet at the same time, the fewer resources are available to each individual.
While Starlink’s map should be reliable in terms of performance estimates, it’ll ultimately be down to each individual setup.
In the majority of all use cases, whether that’s surfing the web, streaming a TV show, or video calling someone else, Starlink performance will absolutely suffice.
My Personal Pros and Cons
While Starlink is undoubtedly an incredible innovation that’s far and above current satellite internet providers, it’s not without its faults.
The big one first: there isn’t any comparable consumer product or service out there that can provide high-speed internet (> 25 Mbps) in areas deprived of fiber or cell connectivity.
And latency, thanks to its low-orbiting satellites, is extremely low, making activities such as gaming or video conferencing easily possible.
SpaceX is also working on a direct-to-cell service with T-Mobile (another partnership has already been announced in New Zealand together with local operator One), which means you’ll be able to tap into Starlink’s constellation right from your mobile phone.
Another huge perk of Starlink is the ease of use. All it takes is a functioning electrical connection and a few minutes of your time to set Starlink up.
It does sometimes feel like Starlink took a page out of Apple’s playbook when it comes to design and usability, both of which are top-notch in my experience.
Its global coverage and easiness of setting everything up also makes Starlink the perfect travel companion. If you’re living in an RV or on a boat, then subscribing to Starlink is essentially a no-brainer.
And those who are still on the fence can test Starlink free of charge for 30 days. Even after the testing period expires, you can still cancel at any time (and just have to find someone to sell your equipment to).
Unfortunately, not everything is perfect. Download and upload speeds may be lackluster at times, depending on factors such as your location or chosen plan.
Starlink, much like any other satellite internet service, is also highly dependent on having a clear view of sight.
If your antenna is blocked by trees, for example, then you will experience frequent outages. Extremely poor weather conditions can potentially affect uptime, too.
The hardware itself certainly doesn’t come cheap, either. In the United States, you’re paying $599 for the hardware, on top of up to $50 for shipping.
Customer service, or lack thereof, is another downside. There have been many examples of folks waiting weeks or months for a reply – all while their hardware is malfunctioning, thus making the service inaccessible.
That said, many of those downsides will be ironed out over time. As new Starlink competitors emerge, SpaceX will have to invest more of its profit margins into improving service.
Additionally, performance should also improve as more satellites are being deployed. However, even those residing in the busiest of cells should already see double-digit download speeds.
How Good Is Starlink in Europe?
Generally speaking, the more advanced the internet infrastructure of a certain region, the better your Starlink performance tends to be.
This has been particularly true in Europe where we have a substantially more sophisticated fiber infrastructure thanks to factors like population density and government investments in fiber optics.
As a result, satellite-based internet services like Starlink aren’t as much of a necessity. Therefore, subscribers tend to compete with fewer users for the same bandwidth pool, thus leading to better performance for the individual.
Here in Germany, for example, I regularly experience download speeds of around 200 Mbps and beyond:
Not only is performance cream of the crop, but prices also tend to be comparatively low. I am currently paying €65 per month for Residential service here in Germany.
In countries like France, Starlink is discounted even further to €40 per month – below what it charges in African countries like Nigeria or Rwanda.
Similarly, hardware is oftentimes discounted as well. In Spain, for example, you could take advantage of a summer discount, allowing you to purchase the hardware for €199 instead of €450 (which is still cheaper than in the US).
Another European perk is the ability to rent equipment. This enables you to temporarily use Starlink for any period you wish to.
As a result, you don’t have to pay for the hardware. That said, renting a hardware kit only works with the Residential tier, so you cannot travel around on rented equipment.
Is Starlink Worth It? My Final Verdict
The answer to the question of whether Starlink is worth it is highly dependent on the alternatives that are available to you as well as the individual use case.
Most people who consider getting Starlink likely fall under the following buckets:
- They don’t have access to fiber internet
- They live in a remote area without or with limited cell coverage
- They were previously subscribed to a geostationary satellite ISP like HughesNet, ViaSat, or NBN’s Sky Muster
If these three tenants are applicable to your current situation, then switching to Starlink is an absolute no-brainer.
Subscribing to Residential should yield a minimum speed of 25 Mbps in the most congested areas and between 100 Mbps to 250 Mbps in lesser prominent (in terms of Starlink adoption) locations.
In Australia, for example, Starlink has attracted over 120,000 subscribers in a little over 2 years of being operational – to the detriment of local players like NBN Sky Muster.
Performance aside, Starlink has also revolutionized the way in which people can travel and remain connected.
With Roam and Maritime, subscribers can now gain access to high-speed internet while traveling in a van or being out on the ocean.
And since Starlink can be easily set up and taken down, it is a great partner for any trip you plan to undertake.
Back in 2022, when the Portability plan was still readily available, I took dishy on a camping trip in Scandinavia.
Lastly, do keep in mind that Starlink is continuously improving thanks to the constant launching of satellites, expansion of its ground station infrastructure, and improvements made to the hardware and software.
So, even those located in areas with limited capacity will eventually see download and upload speeds become even faster than they already are.
And if anything, you’re helping humanity get one tiny step closer to conquering Mars (since Starlink profits are used for the development of Starship, the most powerful rocket ever developed).