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SpaceX Starlink Might Be Losing Its Blazing Fast Tag; Here’s The Reason
In 2020, Elon Musk sent ripples across the globe when he announced the SpaceX Starlink satellite internet service. The service was sweeping headlines for its incredibly fast speeds. However, that might not be the case now, as more people continue to hop on to the Starlink wagon.
Internet speed testing website Ookla, in its latest report, suggests that with more people taking SpaceX’s Starlink internet subscription, the service might lose its edge over rivals in terms of internet speeds.
Download Speeds In A Downward Spiral
The report went on to conclude that Starlink users in the US and Canada have witnessed a huge decline in their download speeds that might be a result of the congestion caused due to more people opting for the services in the area.
"Starlink speeds decreased in every country we surveyed over the past year as more users sign up for service," Ookla report says, drawing on data from Speedtest.net. The report shows that median download speeds saw a decline between 5 to 54 percent from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022 in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, and New Zealand.
During the same period, Starlink’s median download in the US came down from 90Mbps to around 62.5Mbps. As for Canadian users, the download speeds came down from 97.4Mbps to 74.73Mbps.
While the current speeds aren’t bad by any means, they still hamper the hype around the Elon Musk-led space company that is set to take on more ambitious projects including colonizing the Red Planet.
Space Congestion Might Solve Internet Congestion On Earth
What’s more interesting is that the service in Mexico and Puerto Rico was faster when compared to that of Canada and the US. These drops in download speeds might become more common as more people join the satellite internet service. The issue has also sparked a social media outrage against Starlink as consumers are posting their issues on several platforms.
That said, SpaceX continues to launch satellite constellations into low-earth orbit at a high frequency. Maybe if we have enough constellations in the sky, the speed woes on Earth might get resolved.
SpaceX Satellites Coming In Astronomers’ Way?
While launching more satellites might boost download speeds for Starlink, the huge constellations will continue to be a thorn for scientists across the globe. Astronomers have realized that Starlink satellites are highly reflective and are blocking observatories from studying the universe better.
SpaceX did address the issue and produced less-reflective satellites called DarkSats for later launches, but as per a Scientific American report, the satellites were still bright enough to create problems for surveying the cosmos. Only time will tell what approach SpaceX will take to curb speed drops without hampering scientific research.