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Satellite Internet speed

Starlink leads in Satellite Internet speed in Q4, Ookla reports

Starlink is the leader in satellite internet speed in the United States during the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Ookla. Fast satellite internet has become increasingly available to more and more people across the globe. It’s already a huge boon to rural communities that might otherwise be too remote for fixed broadband service. satellite Internet speed

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Starlink, Viasat, HughesNet, and other satellite providers are all placing big bets on low-earth orbital (LEO) satellite constellations, and Starlink is even introducing a new premium service with speeds expected to be around 150-500 Mbps. The European Commission is even planning a multibillion Euro investment to connect the continent to satellite internet.

Ookla’ve analyzed fresh satellite internet performance data from Q4 2021 including results from seven additional countries to update our ongoing series.

 

United States: Starlink was the fastest satellite provider during Q4 2021 and speeds increased over Q3 2021 satellite Internet speed

U.S. consumers saw mixed satellite performance when comparing Q3 2021 to Q4 2021, while the United States government has been trying to increase satellite internet competition. Starlink’s median download speed increased from 87.25 Mbps during Q3 2021 to 104.97 Mbps in Q4 2021 — an important benchmark that inches Starlink closer to reaching the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund’s (RDOF) baseline of download speeds greater than 100 Mbps.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed in USA

Viasat overtook HughesNet to follow Starlink distantly at 21.81 Mbps (comparable to the 18.75 Mbps we saw in Q3 2021) and HughesNet followed at 20.92 Mbps (19.30 Mbps in Q3 2021). SES, new to our list this quarter, trailed far behind at 2.19 Mbps. For comparison, the median download speed for all fixed broadband providers rose moderately in the U.S. during Q4 2021 from 119.84 Mbps in Q3 2021 to 131.30 Mbps in Q4 2021.

Starlink saw a slight decrease in median upload speed from 13.54 Mbps during Q3 2021 to 12.04 Mbps in Q4 2021, still short of the median upload speed for all fixed broadband, which rose to 19.49 Mbps in Q4 2021 from 18.03 Mbps in Q3 2021. Viasat followed at 2.88 Mbps (2.96 Mbps in Q3 2021), then HughesNet at 2.54 Mbps (2.13 Mbps in Q3 2021), and SES at 1.19 Mbps.


As we’ve seen over the past year, Starlink, which uses only low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, was once again the only satellite internet provider with a median latency anywhere close to fixed broadband in Q4 2021 (40 ms and 14 ms, respectively). SES, Viasat, and HughesNet, which all utilize higher geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites for now, had much higher median latencies at 613 ms, 627 ms, and 725 ms, respectively.

Starlink performance continues to vary widely at the county level

During Q4 2021, we saw about a 130 Mbps range in performance between the U.S. county with the fastest median download speed over Starlink (Miami Dade County in Florida at 191.08 Mbps) and the county with the slowest median download speed (Columbia County in Oregon at 64.95 Mbps).

Median Download Speed for Starlink in Selected US Counties

Even the lower-end speeds were well above the FCC’s baseline performance tier for broadband internet of at least a 25 Mbps download speed.

Satellite internet performance elsewhere in the world

We examined satellite internet performance in countries with an established market share to see how well their speeds compare to local fixed broadband. We’re excited to add analyses on satellite performance in Austria, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal this quarter. We’ve also added Starlink to the list of providers in Chile. With Starlink continuing to launch in additional countries, we’re looking forward to seeing how Starlink performs during Q1 2021.

Australia: Starlink nearly triples fixed broadband download average

Starlink radically outperformed Viasat in Australia during Q4 2021 with a median download speed of 141.55 Mbps to Viasat’s 15.49 Mbps. The median download speed for all fixed broadband providers was 51.35 Mbps. Starlink’s 14.84 Mbps median upload speed fell behind fixed broadband providers’ 18.01 Mbps. Viasat followed at 1.09 Mbps. Starlink is a clear alternative to traditional fixed broadband for speeds, however Starlink can’t yet compete for latency, with Starlink showing a median latency of 43 ms vs. 10 ms for all fixed broadband combined. Viasat was far behind at 666 ms.

Austria: Starlink download speed outpaces fixed broadband by more than double satellite Internet speed

New to our list this quarter, Austrian consumers had fast speeds over Starlink during Q4 2021, achieving faster median download speeds than that of all fixed broadband providers combined at 131.84 Mbps vs. 50.33 Mbps on fixed broadband. Starlink also had a faster median upload speed at 19.91 Mbps vs. 14.34 Mbps on fixed broadband. Starlink trailed fixed broadband on median latency during Q4 2021, 52 ms vs. 13 ms.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Austria

Belgium: Starlink much faster than fixed broadband

Starlink’s median download speed of 155.15 Mbps during Q4 2021 was much faster than the country’s median download for all fixed broadband of 76.94 Mbps. That’s also a large increase from Starlink’s median download speed of 127.46 Mbps in Q3 2021. For median upload speed, Starlink was only slightly slower at 15.15 Mbps than the median fixed broadband upload speed of 18.05 Mbps. However, Starlink’s 45 ms latency was higher than the country’s median latency of 13 ms. Starlink was the only satellite internet provider with adequate samples to analyze in Belgium during Q4 2021. For rural Belgians, Starlink is a strong option.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Belgium

Brazil: Viasat fell further behind as national fixed broadband sped up

Viasat’s median download speed in Brazil dipped slightly from 66.32 Mbps during Q3 2021 to 62.80 Mbps during Q4 2021. This fell further away from the national median for fixed broadband, which sped up to 83.03 Mbps during Q4 2021 (71.50 Mbps in Q3 2021). Viasat’s median upload speed (1.07 Mbps) was much slower than that on fixed broadband (40.76 Mbps), and Viasat’s latency was much higher (610 ms vs 6 ms). With Starlink slated to enter the Brazilian market soon, we’ll be watching these numbers closely to see if additional competition spurs the market.

 

Canada: Starlink performance reaches milestone during Q4 2021

In our last article, Starlink’s median download speed decreased to slower than fixed broadband in Canada during Q3 2021 (84.55 Mbps vs. 90.67 Mbps). But in Q4 2021, Starlink’s median download speed leapt ahead, achieving 106.64 Mbps while median download speed for fixed broadband increased to 96.39 Mbps. Starlink’s median upload speed was slower than fixed broadband (12.82 Mbps vs. 21.66 Mbps) and latency on Starlink was still much higher (55 ms vs. 11 ms). Starlink should be considered a viable option compared to fixed broadband in Canada, especially for rural consumers or those without access to fast fixed broadband options like fiber.

Starlink faster than overall fixed broadband in nearly every province

Starlink showed enough samples to analyze performance in all 10 provinces in Canada during Q4 2021 — all of which showed substantial increases in Starlink’s download speed during Q4 2021 compared to Q3 2021. Starlink’s median download speed was faster than the median download for all fixed broadband in seven provinces during Q4 2021: Manitoba (101.66 Mbps vs. 83.06 Mbps), Newfoundland and Labrador (195.30 Mbps vs. 131.58 Mbps), Nova Scotia (143.52 Mbps vs. 121.57 Mbps), Ontario (106.24 Mbps vs. 95.06 Mbps), Prince Edward Island (139.11 Mbps vs. 75.95 Mbps), Quebec (123.50 Mbps vs. 84.50 Mbps), and Saskatchewan (116.24 Mbps vs. 68.43 Mbps).

Download speeds were comparable between Starlink and overall fixed broadband in New Brunswick (130.67 Mbps vs. 132.65 Mbps), and overall fixed broadband was faster than Starlink in Alberta (107.32 Mbps vs. 96.56 Mbps) and British Columbia (130.97 Mbps vs. 94.74 Mbps) — with the latter two provinces having better access to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).

Chile: Starlink debuts fast speeds, but still much slower than scorching fast fixed broadband satellite Internet speed

Chilean fixed broadband providers have continued to achieve some of the fastest speeds in the world, recording the fastest speed on the Speedtest Global Index™ during February 2022, and we were interested to see how Starlink would compete. Starlink reached 118.95 Mbps in Chile during Q4 2021, which was faster than HughesNet (15.30 Mbps) but much slower than Chile’s median download speed for all fixed broadband providers (168.92 Mbps).

Median upload speeds also showed a wide gap in Chile between satellite and fixed broadband during Q4 2021 (23.46 Mbps for Starlink and 3.42 Mbps for HughesNet vs. 89.76 Mbps on fixed broadband). Fixed broadband was also much faster for latency: 7 ms for fixed broadband vs. 38 ms for Starlink and 615 ms for HughesNet.

 

Colombia: HughesNet decreased over download and upload speeds

HughesNet’s median download speed decreased in Q4 2021 to 11.75 Mbps from 12.12 Mbps during Q3 2021, while Colombia’s fixed broadband increased to 54.60 Mbps (46.08 Mbps in Q3 2021). Median upload speed was also slower for HughesNet than fixed broadband (2.88 Mbps vs. 11.86 Mbps), and latency was much higher on HughesNet (717 ms vs. 14 ms).

 

France: Starlink download speed increased, still faster than fixed broadband

Starlink users in France saw a median download speed of 121.21 Mbps in Q4 2021 (up from 102.15 Mbps in Q3 2021). Starlink’s download speed easily beat the country-wide median for fixed broadband of 90.88 Mbps (up from 75.47 Mbps in Q3 2021). Starlink’s upload speed during Q4 2021 was slower than the fixed broadband median (17.20 Mbps vs. 69.49 Mbps), and Starlink’s latency was higher (51 ms vs. 12 ms). Satellite provider SES, on this list for the first time, trailed behind both Starlink and fixed broadband with a 14.88 Mbps download speed, 1.83 Mbps upload speed, and 649 ms latency. Starlink remains an good option for rural French consumers.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in France

Germany: Starlink blazes ahead of fixed broadband download speed

Starlink’s median download speed in Germany of 115.58 Mbps was much faster than the fixed broadband median of 65.86 Mbps during Q4 2021 (and Starlink’s Q3 2021 download speed of 95.40 Mbps). Starlink was slightly slower for upload speed than overall fixed broadband (15.17 Mbps vs. 22.40 Mbps) and Starlink showed a higher latency (47 ms) than fixed broadband (14 ms).

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Germany

Ireland: Starlink download debuts nearly double that of fixed broadband

Starlink’s debut on our list is noteworthy in Ireland, where it achieved a download speed almost double that of Ireland’s combined fixed broadband average during Q4 2021 (123.51 Mbps vs. 65.89 Mbps). Median upload speeds were almost level, with Starlink recording a median upload speed at 24.35 Mbps vs. 22.63 Mbps for fixed broadband. Starlink lagged for latency at 45 ms vs. 11 ms for fixed broadband. Starlink is a great option for those who are looking for fast speeds in Ireland and can’t get access to fixed broadband.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Ireland

Italy: Starlink dominates against fixed broadband

Starlink enters our list in Italy with a decisive statement during Q4 2021: It achieved a median download speed of 124.39 Mbps, a huge leap ahead of Italy’s fixed broadband average of 49.56 Mbps. Upload speeds were comparable between the two, with Starlink recording a median of 18.90 Mbps to 18.29 on fixed broadband. Starlink had a higher latency at 52 ms vs. 14 ms on fixed broadband. Starlink is an attractive option for fast internet in Italy.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Italy

Mexico: Starlink impresses during Q4 2021 debut satellite Internet speed

Starlink, which only became commercially available in Mexico during November 2021, made a significant splash during its brief Q4 2021 debut, achieving a median download speed of 141.94 Mbps. That was significantly faster than Viasat (16.34 Mbps), HughesNet (10.63 Mbps), and all fixed broadband providers combined (36.56 Mbps).

Starlink also outpaced fixed broadband for fastest upload speed (22.32 Mbps vs. 9.53 Mbps). HughesNet and Viasat followed at 3.10 Mbps and 2.06 Mbps, respectively. Starlink was the only satellite provider that came close to fixed broadband median latency, 64 ms to 11 ms. Viasat and HughesNet were distantly behind at 676 ms and 763 ms, respectively. With Starlink making such an impressive entrance into Mexico, we’ll be interested to see if the performance holds up in the coming months.

 

Netherlands: Starlink faster for median download, lagging on upload and latency

The Netherlands, which is new to this list, has some of the fastest median mobile and fixed broadband speeds in the world according to the Speedtest Global Index. We were eager to see how Starlink would perform against this competition. During Q4 2021, Starlink achieved a median download speed of 138.40 Mbps compared to 95.55 Mbps over fixed broadband. Starlink lagged noticeably behind for upload speed at 15.60 Mbps vs. 30.87 Mbps on fixed broadband. Starlink also had a higher latency at 45 ms vs. 11 ms on fixed broadband.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Netherlands

New Zealand: Starlink slowed slightly, still faster than fixed broadband download

Starlink’s Q4 2021 median download speed (116.44 Mbps, down slightly from 120.10 Mbps Mbps in Q3 2021, likely due to increased adoption) was faster than New Zealand’s median fixed broadband download speed (98.61 in Q4 2021, up from 84.98 Mbps in Q3 2021). Starlink was much slower than New Zealand’s median fixed broadband upload speed for Q4 2021 (13.79 Mbps vs. 59.26 Mbps, which was a huge increase from 23.62 Mbps on fixed broadband during Q3 2021). Starlink’s median latency during Q4 2021 was comparable to Q3 2021 (79 ms vs. 81 ms) which was still much slower than New Zealand’s median for all fixed broadband of 6 ms during Q4 2021.

 

Poland: Starlink a fast option for Poles

Starlink launched in Poland during September 2021 and is already recording fast speeds. The median download speed for Starlink was much faster than fixed broadband at 129.29 Mbps to 83.88 Mbps during Q4 2021. Upload speed was roughly comparable, with Starlink recording a slightly slower median upload speed of 24.17 Mbps and fixed broadband ahead at 28.60 Mbps. Starlink’s latency was higher at 58 ms to 10 ms on fixed broadband. That’s still acceptable for online gaming, but higher than what’s considered optimal.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Poland

Portugal: Starlink far ahead on download speed in debut, fixed broadband much faster on upload satellite Internet speed

Another newcomer to this list this quarter, Portugal was a place where Starlink dominated with a much faster median download speed than fixed broadband at 140.35 Mbps to 94.62 Mbps, respectively, during Q4 2021. Upload speed was a different story, with fixed broadband notching a median upload speed of 65.52 Mbps to Starlink’s 30.16 Mbps. Starlink also had a much higher latency than fixed broadband at 44 ms to 7 ms. Starlink remains a good option if you don’t have access to good fixed broadband in Portugal.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in Portugal

United Kingdom: Starlink still nearly twice as fast as fixed broadband median

Starlink showed a faster median download speed in the U.K. (121.94 Mbps in Q4 2021, up from 111.66 Mbps in Q3 2021) than the country’s median for fixed broadband (57.66 Mbps in Q4 2021, up from 53.16 Mbps in Q3 2021). Starlink’s median upload speed (13.96 Mbps) was comparable to the median upload for all fixed broadband in the U.K. (16.84 Mbps), and the latency was relatively fast given the distance traveled (36 ms for Starlink vs. 15 ms for all fixed broadband) — enough to be able to reliably play online multiplayer games. Satellite provider SES trailed far behind during Q4 2021 with a 3.79 Mbps median download speed, 3.74 Mbps median upload, and 636 ms median latency.

Satellite Internet Performance vs Fixed Broadband in United Kingdom

Ookla concludes that competition among satellite providers is rapidly increasing.

 

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Driven by wanderlust and a passion for tech, Sandra is the creative force behind Alertify. Love for exploration and discovery is what sparked the idea for Alertify, a product that likely combines Sandra’s technological expertise with the desire to simplify or enhance travel experiences in some way.