SpaceX Starlink Satellite Internet Review: Canadians Say It’s a Game Changer
Last week, SpaceX sent out the first Starlink internet beta invites to Canada, and now we’re seeing the first reviews.
We have received a couple of first-hand accounts from Canadians that received and setup their Starlink internet hardware today.
Starlink Internet Reviews from Manitoba, Canada
Marc A. From Rivers in southwestern Manitoba told Tesla North the setup “wasn’t too hard at all” and took roughly an hour. “Pretty amazing that the dish is fully self-actuating while tuning to the satellites. Really amazing to see,” said Marc in an email.
According to Marc, he expects the beta stage to see the “incredible” speeds fluctuate, along with pings. “But I am just going to be ecstatic if it stays stable and well connected and reliable,” he adds.
Marc’s current internet service provider is Xplornet, which has download speeds of about 25 Mbps and 1.5 Mbps upload. Starlink internet is offering much faster speeds and has allowed Marc to do more than before.
“I just tried a half hour of FPS gaming. Much better and smoother. No packet loss or jitters. Netflix is loading to max resolution much faster. Time will tell what adverse weather conditions will affect,” explained Marc in an interview. He has yet to test how the heated Starlink dish will perform in adverse weather conditions, but is excited to test this “pretty amazing tech.”
Another reader, Paul Turner similarly shared his SpaceX Starlink internet experience. According to Paul, his Starlink package arrived on Tuesday and he was anxiously anticipating its delivery all day, to Stonewall, Manitoba, north of Winnipeg.
Once it arrived, Paul says he was “up on the roof in minutes” to mount the Starlink dish, which was “super easy to install.” He told Tesla North, “The instructions are great, like an IKEA manual, only three steps.”
Paul says Starlink internet speeds vary a bit, but he was able to get a max measured download speed of 194 Mbps, which is one of the highest speeds we’ve heard about.
While Stonewall has really good fibre internet, Paul says Starlink “isn’t really required” where he’s at now, where Bell MTS is available for $107 CAD/month (about $81 USD) for a consistent 50 Mbps download connection.
But what will change the game is when he will move his Starlink dish to his cottage in Steep Rock (2 hours north of Stonewall).
Starlink is currently offering internet in Canada thanks to ground stations in the United States, but once local stations are set up, Paul will move his Starlink to his cottage, where it “will be a huge upgrade” he says.
Steep Rock currently has ground-based wireless internet service from Xplornet/NetSet, connected to a tower about 30 kilometres (19 miles) away. Paul’s cottage internet costs $99 CAD (about $75 USD) per month for up to 15 Mbps download speeds, but he typically only gets 2 or 3 Mbps he says, with upload speeds lower than 1 Mbps. He says Netflix works “for the most part” but will see occasional buffering.
You can see a screenshot of a Starlink Speedtest.net tests performed by Paul below, showing a download range from 70 to 166 Mbps, uploads from 14 to 21 Mbps and pings from 52 to 108. He’s been able to use Google Meet meetings “flawlessly” and can’t wait to test gaming with his PS5 when it arrives.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently said the Starlink beta program is set for greater expansion in the next 6-8 weeks. Over time, Starlink will improve its speeds and ping rates as the satellite constellation continues to grow.
Big expansion of beta program in 6 to 8 weeks!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 14, 2020
As of writing, Starlink beta invites have been sent out in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Nothing in Quebec yet, which we suspect may be due to language requirements? The following latitudes have received Starlink beta invites:
Albert & our dish. We're @SpaceXStarlink beta testers, way happy with the internet speed and what it means for remote communities across the country, especially under COVID. pic.twitter.com/GtKmyfvBbt
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) November 18, 2020
If you want to sign up for Starlink’s ‘Better Than Nothing Beta’ program, you’ll need to enter in your details here on the Starlink website. If you are testing Starlink internet beta, feel free to share your experience in the comments or send us an email.