The satellite internet provider SpaceX Starlink continues to impress users with improving speeds and extremely positive reviews, according to new data from internet performance tracking firm Ookla. While Starlink still trails top fixed broadband providers for speed in many areas, the service’s launch in new countries shows promising results.
Starlink Users Much Happier Than Average Broadband Subscribers
According to Ookla’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) data for Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, Starlink users in both metro and non-metro areas of the United States are far more satisfied with the service than the average fixed broadband subscriber.
The NPS rating measures how likely customers are to recommend a provider to friends or family on a 0-10 scale. Starlink received a NPS of 31.94 in metro areas and 42.21 in non-metro areas, compared to -23.62 and -21.27 for fixed broadband providers in those respective areas. This indicates Starlink users are much more willing to enthusiastically recommend the service despite the lower average speeds compared to fixed broadband.
Clearly, Starlink is filling a need for reliable high-speed internet in rural areas with limited options. The high satisfaction shows users value the service over moderate speeds.
Speed Increases in Recent Quarters for Canada and the U.S.
According to Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence data, Starlink speeds increased over Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 in Canada and the United States, two of its largest markets. However, speeds were slower compared to Q1 2022.
In Canada, download speed dipped about 3 Mbps from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023 but increased around 28 Mbps over the last two quarters. In the U.S., speed dropped 24 Mbps year-over-year but rose approximately 13 Mbps in recent months.
As Starlink launches upgraded satellites, speeds should continue to improve in established markets. Faster speeds will likely lead to even greater user satisfaction.
Starlink in Canada Currently the Fastest Satellite Provider in North America
Starlink’s median download speed of 93.97 Mbps in Canada makes it the fastest satellite internet provider in mainland North America as of Q1 2023, according to Ookla. It was about 40% faster than Starlink in the U.S., which had a median speed of 66.59 Mbps.
Starlink was also faster than all fixed broadband providers combined in Mexico, with a median download speed of 56.42 Mbps compared to 50.46 for fixed broadband.
However, Starlink and other satellite providers continue to trail fixed broadband in upload speeds and latency due to the physics of satellite internet. Starlink had the lowest latency among satellite providers, ranging from 62 ms in the U.S. to 97 ms in Mexico.
Starlink in Chile is the Speed Leader in South America
In South America, Starlink’s median download speed of 84.62 Mbps in Chile makes it the fastest satellite option in that region as of Q1 2023. Starlink in Peru followed closely with 77.17 Mbps.
Starlink outpaced fixed broadband providers in Colombia and Brazil with speeds above 70 Mbps in both countries. However, fixed broadband still dominated for upload speed and latency across South America.
Jamaica Sees the Fastest Satellite Speeds in the Caribbean
Among Caribbean countries, Starlink’s median download speed of 83.79 Mbps in Jamaica was the fastest satellite internet speed during Q1 2023.
Starlink and Viasat both outperformed fixed broadband providers in the Dominican Republic. Starlink achieved median download speeds above 50 Mbps in Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As with other regions, fixed broadband maintained the edge for upload speeds and latency in the Caribbean. But satellite internet still provides a much needed option for underserved areas.
Early Results Look Promising for New Starlink Countries
Ookla’s data includes first look results for Starlink in three new countries: Nigeria, Peru and the Philippines.
Median download speeds were solid in these emerging markets at 110.78 Mbps in the Philippines, 77.17 Mbps in Peru, and 61.75 Mbps in Nigeria during Q1 2023. However, Starlink still lagged behind fixed broadband providers in upload speed and latency.
As Starlink expands users in these countries, speeds may be affected by bandwidth constraints. But initial performance appears strong enough to gain new rural and underserved users.
The Satellite Internet Space is Heating Up in 2023
Major developments are unfolding in 2023 for satellite internet providers beyond SpaceX Starlink:
- Amazon showcased affordable terminal equipment for its Project Kuiper constellation, expected to deliver up to 1 Gbps speeds.
- Viasat launched the first satellite in its ViaSat-3 array that aims to triple bandwidth capacity.
- Eutelsat, OneWeb and Intelsat are collaborating to expand global satellite capacity.
- The EU approved a $6 billion satellite internet constellation to serve all citizens.
- HughesNet plans to launch its Jupiter 3 satellites soon, promising 100 Mbps service.
Starlink continues to set the standard for satellite internet service quality based on its exceptional user satisfaction. With expected ongoing speed increases, it may be poised for even greater growth in 2023 and beyond.