Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet is coming to Australia and New Zealand. Here’s how much it will cost and how fast the speeds will be.
This story was originally published on February 9. It has since been updated with the new service rollout information.
Starlink’s website went live in February and with it came the Australian availability for the low-orbit satellite broadband service.
Most Australians can reportedly expect to see the SpaceX service launch somewhere between mid-to-late 2021. Multiple sources, including Gizmodo Australia, have received the same date range when punching in an Australian address.
However, in April it began rolling out to select areas of the country.
“Starlink is now available in limited supply in Australia! Initial beta service is available in parts of central Victoria and southern New South Wales,” a press release stated.
Plugging your address into the website also reveals that the total cost of the service per month is $139. However, a $709 hardware fee and $100 shipping fee will also be incurred.
If you want to sign up on the spot, you will need to pay $139, which is the equivalent of one month of Starlink service.
This is pretty normal for companies run by Elon Musk. Tesla also takes down payments for EV and Solar Roof services.
SpaceX has also revealed the expected speeds for Starlink.
“During beta, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system,” the Starlink website says.
“There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.”
If you want to get in on the Starlink action, you’ll need to be quick. According to the website user numbers are limited in Australia at the present time.
“Orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis,” the website reads.
Pre-orders are open from today and beta testing is already underway.
How does this compare to NBN Sky Muster satellite plans?
Starlink’s biggest point of difference to the majority of the NBN is that its a satellite service. This means it can service areas that copper or fibre NBN can’t due to infrastructure limitations.
This is particularly relevant to a country as a big as Australia.
But we do already have Satellite internet.
Satellite NBN, or Sky Muster, is similar to Fixed Wireless in that its for rural areas that can’t connect to the NBN (or even 4G) in any other way. However, it takes it a step further as its able to service remote areas that don’t have stable 4G access.
The problem with Sky Muster is that it can really slow compared to other NBN services — it only offers NBN 12 and NBN 25.
However, this has been helped with the introduction of Sky Muster Plus. This provides customers with unlimited data (except for streaming and VPN). It also offers burst speeds which means it can go above the usual NBN 12 and NBN 25 limits.
Meanwhile, Starlink will reportedly have 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s speeds and a latency range from 20ms to 40ms. And early beta users are reporting speeds of over 100Mbps.
This is a significant increase in speed offerings for people in rural areas. And it’s possible because Starlink is a low-orbit satellite system that is roughly 60-times closer to earth.
Here is Skymuster’s current NBN 25 plans:
And you can find out more about the Plus plans here.
While these are cheaper options than Starlink, they are much slower and, with the exception of Sky Muster Plus, have data caps. The above widget shows a mixture of on and off peak data allowances.
Comparatively, the Starlink FAQ reveals that there are currently no data caps during the beta. This seems good, but the language suggests this could change later. This is definitely something worth keeping an eye on before committing to a plan, on case it ends up actually costing even more.
We’ll let you know when we have more info on Starlink and when it will land in Australia.