Elon Musk’s companies have had their fair share of highs and lows in the public’s eyes but SpaceX may have lately taken the lion’s share of goodwill thanks to a series of successful launches and tests of its rockets and crew capsule. It was also the most recent recipient of some heavy criticism due to its Starlink satellites photobombing the NEOWISE comet. Its controversial presence in the Earth’s skies, however, might be worth it if these numbers using Ookla’s popular Speedtest are anything to go by.
To be clear, none of the anonymized test results on Ookla’s website come even close to Musk’s promise of gigabit Internet and less than 20 ms latency coming from its Starlink satellite constellation. The fastest download speed was recorded at 60 Mbps while uploads topped at 17.70 Mbps. Latency, on the other hand, ranged from 31 to 94 ms.
One will have to consider, however, that there are only 600 Starlink satellites currently in Low-Earth Orbit or LEO, just about 570 km at the highest peak. SpaceX has been cleared to launch 12,000 satellites, at which point the constellation would be mostly in full operation to deliver those promised speeds. Or at least that’s the theory.
Even the lowest 11 Mbps that these Speedtest results show is already enough to impress Internet users that are capped at 1 Mbps or even slower. SpaceX’s goal is to make broadband Internet available even and especially for areas where DSL, cable, fiber, or even geostationary satellites are unable to reach. For these areas, 11 Mbps would be Internet heaven already.
Of course, Starlink’s promise doesn’t come without a price, as already evidenced by astrophotographs of the night sky. The presence of 600 satellites is already proving to be controversial to the astronomy community, let alone when a 12,000-strong fleet is already in full force orbiting around our planet.