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How Starlink Internet Works

Satellite internet has come a long way since its inception at the end of the 20th century. Once considered a last-resort technology, satellite communications were only used when other forms of connectivity were not available. However, the introduction of the Starlink network has disrupted the industry and made satellite internet available to almost everyone. Learning how Starlink internet works is your first step to getting access to faster internet.

Founded by Elon Musk, Starlink has dramatically changed the satellite internet landscape. It offers ubiquitous coverage and allows for the transfer of large amounts of data at a more affordable cost. But is Starlink available in the UK? How does it work? How do you connect to it, how much does it cost, and what does the Starlink UK coverage map look like? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this article.

how Starlink internet works
Source: SpaceNews

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a satellite internet service, a branch of the aerospace company SpaceX, led by Elon Musk. It presents an alternative to traditional internet services like optical fiber and 5G, by transmitting internet data from satellites orbiting the Earth. This signal is captured by a special antenna-like device.

A key advantage of Starlink is its independence from local ground-based infrastructure. The service requires a hardware kit, which includes a receiver that connects to the Starlink router via a cable. This kit can be purchased from various retailers and suppliers for a price starting from £450.

How Does Starlink Internet Work?

Starlink provides high-speed internet access using a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, a ground station network, and user terminals. The project began in 2015, and as of early 2023, there are over 3,000 satellites in the Starlink constellation.

The user terminal connects to the satellite network, which then transmits the signal to the ground station, where it is then connected to the internet backbone. This allows for stable high-speed communications in every corner of the Earth, as planned by Elon Musk.

Why Starlink is a Competitive Choice

Starlink’s network has several advantages over its competitors. It is cheaper and easier to operate, and the data arrives steadily with low latency and impressive speed. This is because Starlink’s satellites are located in low orbit of up to 650 km, while most competitors (HughesNet, Viasat, etc.) place their satellites in geostationary orbit at a height of 35,000 km, making their data transfer about ten times slower than Starlink’s. Starlink’s low orbit also means that it can provide internet access to remote locations that were previously unreachable.

Is Starlink Available in the UK?

Yes, Starlink has been available and operational in the UK since 2021, covering almost the entire area except for the northernmost parts of Scotland. According to the Starlink internet coverage map of the UK available on the provider’s website, as of early 2023, the entire country is covered. Interested users can check the map to see if their location is within the coverage area.

How much does Starlink cost in the UK?

Starlink vs other satellite internet providers

Starlink offers three main tariff plans in the UK, which are Internet, Business (Premium), and RV (recreational vehicles). The Internet plan costs £75 per month, with an equipment cost of £460, while the Business (Premium) plan costs £150 per month, with an equipment cost of £2410. The RV plan costs £95 per month, with an equipment cost of £460. Hardware, shipping & handling fees, and tax will cost an additional £40. It is worth noting that the equipment is fully refundable.

Before August 24th, 2022, the prices for the UK were higher. The Starlink subscription fee was £89 per month, and the cost of a set of equipment was £529. However, the company has now lowered its prices, acknowledging that the service is still fundamentally expensive but is now approaching the mass market “availability” window.

When compared to other satellite internet providers, Starlink offers UK citizens unlimited access, while competitors have limited traffic and significantly slower speeds. Although Starlink’s equipment is more expensive, it is a one-time charge for the entire service period. In contrast, competitors require a monthly subscription fee for the operation of their equipment. Additionally, Hughes and Viasat require a 24-month commitment, whereas Starlink offers a 30-day trial.

The only downside of Starlink is that it currently has an insufficiently wide worldwide coverage and a rather long waiting period for new order processing. At the moment, 750,000 future customers are waiting for their turn.

How fast is Starlink Internet in the UK?

According to nearly 500 tests conducted by Think Broadband between March 2022 and August 2022 in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England, the average download speed of Starlink Internet in the UK is 106.1 Mbps, while the average upload speed is 9.72 Mbps. This is a great option for those looking for faster internet speeds.

The maximum download and upload speeds were recorded at 293 Mbps and 33 Mbps, respectively, whereas the minimum download and upload speeds were 2.5 Mbps and 1.2 Mbps, respectively. Although Starlink UK speeds differ from those stated, given that the network is only at the beginning of its development, the figures are impressive.

How to Get Starlink in the UK

To get Starlink in the UK, customers need to place an order on the operator’s website. Once the order has been placed, a Starlink kit will be mailed to the customer’s address. The kit includes a round or rectangular plate, Wi-Fi router/power supply, cables, and a base.

To install Starlink, customers can refer to the Starlink Install Guide, which is available on the website. Alternatively, customers can download and install the Starlink app for iOS or Android. The app helps customers find the best location to install and set up their antenna for a strong and stable signal.

Customers can also check the Starlink signal coverage using the app. Overall, the process of getting Starlink in the UK is straightforward and easy to follow.

Is purchasing Starlink in the UK worthwhile?

Starlink internet is a game-changer, bringing satellite broadband to remote and rural areas where cable is not an option. While it may be a bit expensive to start with, it is a revolutionary solution for anyone whose internet needs differ from the services offered by terrestrial providers.

With Starlink internet, you can finally get fully functional speed just about anywhere in the UK at a fairly affordable price. Although the service is far from perfect, our verdict is a definite yes.

Now that you are aware of how Stalink internet works, you can take the next step of getting one installed in the UK. Speak to our team at Taun Tech and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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