Starlink Speeds Drop Significantly in the US Amid Congestion Woes

According to Ookla’s Speedtest data, download speeds on SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet system have plummeted among users in the US and Canada.

During the second quarter (April-June), the average download rate for Starlink users in the US held steady at 62.53Mbps, down from 90.55Mbps in the first quarter. Upload speeds also dropped, from 9.33Mbps down to just 7.24Mbps.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the median download speed was 75.73Mbps, down from 97.40Mbps, according to Ookla’s. Report(opens in new window)which is based on in new window)a website anyone can use to check the speed of their internet connection.

Oklahoma data

Oklahoma data

(Source: Okla)

Ookla blamed the slowdown on Starlink’s popularity. Hundreds of thousands of customers have signed up for SpaceX’s satellite internet service, which provides high-speed broadband to rural areas that are underserved by broadband. However, the rapid adoption of the system means that SpaceX’s network capacity is currently stretched across many parts of North America, slowing cells already full of existing users.

Ookla added that network congestion issues appear to be affecting Starlink users around the world. “Starlink speeds declined in every country we surveyed over the past year as more users signed up for the service,” the company wrote.

Okla Europe

(Source: Okla)

Still, Starlink’s broadband quality in Europe is significantly better than in North America. According to the report, most countries in Europe have median download speeds above 90Mbps or 100Mbps, which is generally better than fixed broadband providers.

Ookla’s report comes after more and more users are being complain(opens in new window) With regards to experiencing slow speeds through Starlink, Starlink is designed to provide download speeds of 50 to 200Mbps for residential users.In some cases, affected users suffering from congestion issues can experience(opens in new window) Their download speeds are below 5Mbps.

speed test score

The Speedtest score shows that one user has a slower Starlink speed.

The Ookla data is also one of the reasons the FCC decided last month to deny SpaceX $886 million in federal funding for satellite internet service.

“We have observed that Ookla data reported as of July 31, 2022 indicates that Starlink speeds have been declining from the last quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022, including upload speeds well below 20Mbps,” FCC It said at the time. Other factors for the rejection included Starlink’s “nascent” technology, “recognized capacity constraints” and concerns about the system’s cost to consumers.

SpaceX has appealed. SpaceX told the FCC earlier this month: “This decision should not be put on hold, leaving people in these rural areas of our country behind again.”

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Despite the slowdown, Ookla says a median download speed of over 60Mbps is still “enough for at least one connected device to do most things on the internet, including streaming video, downloading games, and video chatting with friends and family. .” Ookla noted that Starlink is faster than rival satellite internet providers Viasat and HughesNet.

Additionally, PCMag recently interviewed six users of Starlink’s “Best Effort” rating, and despite the slowdown, they all rated the service well.

SpaceX has not publicly commented on the congestion problems Starlink is facing. However, the company has quietly acknowledged the slowdown through its customer support channels. To address the congestion, SpaceX plans to launch thousands more Starlink satellites into orbit to improve broadband quality and network capacity. But doing so requires regulatory approval.

Disclosure: Ookla is owned by PCMag parent company Ziff Davis.

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