Ookla Q2 2022 study sees drop in UK Starlink broadband speeds

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Ookla, which maintains the Speedtest.net service, has released its latest Q2 2022 report on download speeds, upload speeds and internet latency for customers in the UK, and beyond, on ultra-fast Starlink broadband satellites. based on SpaceX’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The bad news is that speeds have dropped dramatically over the last year.

Currently Starlink has a constellation around 3,075 LEO in orbit and its plan is to deploy a total of 4,425 by 2024. Customers in the UK normally pay from £75 per month and £460 for the kit (standard antenna, router, etc), but for that you can expect a usage unlimited, good latency times of 20-40ms, downloads of c. 50-200Mbps and uploads of c.10-20Mbps (speeds may change as network grows).

NOTE: The compact satellites weigh about 260 kg each and orbit the Earth at an altitude of about 550 km (compared to 35,000 km for traditional GSO platforms).

However, it’s not unusual for an ISP’s advertised performance claims to differ from reality, which is a point the latest data from Ookla helps underscore. This time last year it was still common to see an increase in Starlink performance as the network expanded with new satellites and ground stations, but the provider’s commercial launch and influx of new customers is putting further pressure on its ability.

Ookla found that Starlink’s median (average) download speeds dropped in Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, and the US are nothing to sneeze at, especially if you live in a poorly served rural area (i.e., the target audience), where most landline and mobile (4G) alternatives will often be much slower.

We should add that web-based speed tests like this have their limits, not least because they can easily be affected by all sorts of complex issues, like slow home Wi-Fi, limitations of the tester itself, and network congestion. home network. But that’s true for everyone, so it’s still useful for identifying general trends.

Starlink UK broadband speeds: Q4 2021 to Q2 2022

Q2 2022

Download 85.07Mbps

Upload 10.72Mbps

Latency 39ms

Q4 2021

Download 121.94Mbps

Upload 13.96Mbps

Latency 36ms (lower numbers are faster)

Q3 2021

Download 111.66Mbps

Upload 16.02Mbps

37ms latency

Q2 2021

Download 108.30Mbps

Upload 15.64Mbps

37ms latency

The result means that it is now much more difficult to refer to Starlink as a “super fast broadband” (100Mbps+), as its average average download has plummeted to just 85.07Mbps. But that’s still better than the average fixed-broadband line, which tops out at 63.16 Mbps.

On the other hand, landlines delivered faster uploads (17.87 Mbps) and latency times (15 ms), although getting 39 milliseconds from a satellite link is still remarkable and not too far off what you’d expect from 4G land mobile networks. (which tend to hover around the 35ms to 55ms area, but can be quite variable).

Having said all that, every time Starlink’s performance drops, their competitive advantage and value proposition take a bit of a hit, which may be part of the reason they recently lowered their prices. But cheaper prices also tend to attract more customers, and that can lead to further drops in performance. Starlink will need to be careful about where they draw the line here, which will be a difficult problem to tackle given the need to recoup their huge deployment costs.

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