Many Americans never even heard of Starlink a couple of months ago. Now, discussion about it is everywhere and many consumers are eager to make the switch to this new Internet service.
What Is Starlink?
Starlink is a SpaceX brand and a project to deliver broadband internet to areas where it has traditionally been difficult to get. The initial focus is rural America, but the plan is to provide the service globally. In the past, the public perception of satellite internet has been negative, but that is largely because companies like HughesNet and Viasat have a small number of fixed-location satellites. Starlink, on the other hand, has thousands of satellites that actually orbit the Earth.
50% of Americans Are Ready to Make the Switch
The Starlink beta program has been a great success. It already encompasses more than 140,000 customers. With that success, there was little doubt that Starlink was going to be reasonably popular with rural Americans. It was not clear how popular it would be with Americans in general, but a recent consumer survey suggests that as many as 50% of Americans are ready to make the switch as soon as it is available, and there are five core reasons why this is.
1. Wide Availability
One reason is that Starlink will be available practically anywhere—at least in North America to start. That means that everyone has the option. That includes people who do not currently have access to broadband internet but also those who do but have faced high prices and poor service due to a lack of competition. There is also a great deal of flexibility inherent to the service Starlink provides. If you move, you can just take your satellite dish and internet service with you.
2. Faster Than Expected
Nobody was quite sure how fast Starlink would be initially, but it is already providing at least 100 Mbps, which meets the needs of the average American household. These speeds are possible because of lower latencies than were traditionally associated with satellite internet, and low latency itself also makes Starlink an attractive option. Furthermore, Elon Musk asserts that the speeds will continue to increase and will eventually challenger fiber, which is 1 Gbps or 1,000 Mbps.
3. More Affordable Than Expected
Starlink requires a one-time $499 equipment fee. The service costs $99 a month. While this may not be cheap enough to appeal to low-income rural Americans, it is rather attractive to the average American. Many of them are already paying that much and locked into an ongoing equipment fee. They also offer bundle packages that includes telephone and streaming services like Dish TV and more.
4. Positive Beta Reviews
Outside of Musk and the Starlink team, no one expected Starlink to be this successful this fast. But it is, and there have been beta users on web forums like Reddit gushing about it. It may not have been planned, but this is one of the best examples of word-of-mouth-advertising in a long time.
SpaceX has been very successful in its endeavors thus far, and that makes investors and consumers very bullish. When Musk says that speeds will increase and soon, people believe him because SpaceX is going to continue launching satellites. In fact, the FCC has recently approved about 2,800 more.
Do not doubt for a second that the cable companies have taken notice. Cable ISPs have long been able to operate without much competition, but that is about to change. As soon as Starlink leaves its beta period, expect cable ISPs to begin lowering their prices and increasing speeds and bandwidth.