Internet speed tests of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Starlink satellite Internet constellation for the third quarter of last year reflect the service’s expansion as it adds more customers and gradually builds a constellation of thousands of small Internet satellites. Combined data by Ookla, which is behind the popular Internet speed test app Speedtest, shows that while Starlink increased the number of active users in the third quarter of last year, the service’s median speeds across the United States fell, reversing the trend shown in the second quarter of 2021 during the first quarter. However, users in other countries, like Canada, have fared better, following the availability of the service as SpaceX continues to launch more spacecraft, with the latest launch taking place last night.

Starlink’s median US internet speeds drop 10% in Q3 2021, speed test data shows

Details from Speedtest’s latest report show that Starlink’s median download speeds in the US were 87.25 Mbps in the third quarter of 2021. Compared to the same organization’s results for the previous quarter, this represents a 10% drop, as median speeds were at 97.23 Mbps in the second quarter of 2021. Speedtest rightly speculates that the drop in download speeds may be the result of the addition of new customers by Starlink as part of the ‘an aggressive campaign to grow its base to satiate both its competitors and investors, and prove to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that there is a strong demand for satellite Internet service.

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In the download segment, Speedtest reports that data collected from 304 U.S. counties shows download speeds of 13.54 Mbps, remaining relatively stable compared to second quarter data. However, despite the reduction in median download speed, Starlink continued to significantly outperform its satellite Internet competitors Viasat and HughesNet. For them, the median download speeds were 18.75 Mbps and 19.30, respectively. In other words, they were slightly higher than To download speeds exhibited by SpaceX’s young Internet service.

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In addition to being well ahead of the download segment, Starlink also outperformed its competitors in terms of latency, as it managed to show results closer to broadband Internet service providers. Latency, which is the time it takes for a packet of information to travel to and from a user’s device, is higher for terrestrial broadband companies due to the propagation characteristics of their equipment and the proximity to Internet servers. According to Speedtest, Starlink’s average latency was 44 milliseconds (ms), which is orders of magnitude lower than the 744 ms and 629 ms of HughesNet and Viasat, respectively.

Moving elsewhere, Canadian Starlink users saw their median download speeds decline slightly in the third quarter to 84.55 Mbps from 86.92 Mbps in the second quarter. Importantly, however, it was in the same range as high-speed download speeds, which stood at 90.21 Mbps for the last quarter. The decline in Q3 is expected according to Speedtest, which goes on to note that “[t]This is what we expect from new technology as more users are added to a system.In addition, of the nine Canadian provinces analyzed by Speedtest, Starlink was faster than broadband, with the biggest difference being in the Edward Islands, where Internet service had median download speeds of 118.02 Mbps, or more than double the 46.86 Mbps for broadband.

It has also overtaken broadband in New Zealand and the UK. UK Starlink users were able to achieve a median speed of 111.66 Mbps, which was not only better than second quarter speeds, but also faster than the 53.16 Mbps of broadband. Likewise, median speeds in New Zealand were 120.10 Mbps, while broadband was 84.98 Mbps.

Finally, Australian users have also benefited from speeds more than twice the speed provided by broadband in the southern hemisphere. Broadband speeds stood at 51.17 Mbps, which was not at all close to Starlink’s median speeds of 138.12 Mbps. However, the broadband latency was 10ms while Starlink was able to deliver 42ms.

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The data strengthens the case for global internet coverage being achieved by SpaceX executives and should serve Starlink well as it launches more satellites. SpaceX President Ms. Gwynne Shotwell believes the internet service plays in a $ 1 trillion market, and Starlink may well get off to a good start if those numbers hold up over the years as more and more users flock to the service.

Learn more about Starlink’s download speeds and testing: