The Ookla report noted a dramatic increase in Starlink internet performance in North America between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022. In the U.S., the median download speed improved roughly 38 per cent, from 65.72 Mbps in Q1 2021 to 90.55 Mbps in Q1 2022. Canada saw an even greater jump, leaping from 61.84 Mbps to 97.40 Mbps in the same time period.
Neither country beat the speeds in Mexico, the country with the highest Starlink performance in North America with a median download speed of 105.91 Mbps.
Interestingly, upload speed went the opposite direction, at least in the U.S. The Ookla report showed that uploading over Starlink decreased by at least 33 per cent in the U.S., dropping from 16.29 Mbps in Q1 2021 to 9.33 Mbps in Q1 2022. The report did not mention the upload speed change in Canada.
Latency remained relatively flat year over year. Median latency in the U.S. increased from 40 ms to 43 ms, while Canada saw an increase from 51 ms to 55 ms. Both are negligible in consumer use cases.
Potential competition from Amazon’s Project Kuiper
Starlink’s superior performance in rural Canada presents an attractive offer to underserved Canadians. The service has been shown by Ookla to even beat median broadband download speeds in five Canadian provinces.
Starlink has been aggressively expanding its low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. According to a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing in May, the company claims that it now operates 2400 satellites servicing over 400,000 subscribers worldwide. The company also made its first entry into the Philippines earlier this year, its first market in Asia. Additionally, Starlink has been expanding its service offerings, introducing Starlink Business and Starlink RV.
But the service isn’t without its woes. Starlink announced a price hike in March, citing inflation. Additionally, timely availability continues to be an issue, as buyers are still being put on a waitlist. The checkout page warns that the service may not arrive in certain areas until 2023.
Moreover, the Ookla report noted that Starlink is expected to face stiffer competition from Amazon’s Project Kuiper, which recently received the FCC’s blessing to start testing its own satellite internet. In April, Amazon announced that it has planned 83 launches with three launch providers to send 3236 satellites to low orbit in the next 10 years.