Starlink

With high-speed internet more important today, the recent launch of the Starlink system here (and Canada Wide) promises 150-250mb/s high-speed connections anywhere, from within our cities to our remote cabins. Starlink offers a much more equal playing field and allows those confined to town/city-based high speed to spread out and return to the country and wilderness.

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Starlink beaming high-speed internet anywhere in NW Ontario.

SpaceX has started to send out beta packages to some lucky people in our area. The new Starlink, high-speed internet system, uses low earth orbit satellites coupled with some land stations to allow high-speed internet to even the most remote parts of Northwest Ontario.

Currently, options for high-speed internet are only available in the few small towns that have Shaw or Bell internet service. Bell offers 5mb/s (25mb/s is required to be classified as high speed) and Shaw offers up to 750mb/s. For all practical purposes, a rate of 25mb/s is needed to stream an HD movie. 150 mb/s will allow multiple people to download HD and 4k videos.

A few other offerings via older satellite systems and cell network connections also offer services in remote areas; however, they tend to be expensive, slower than Bell and have costly data usage charges.

The Starlink “Better than nothing beta program” has started rolling out as of December as SpaceX received the proper licenses for broadcasting into Canada last month. There are a few lucky testers in our area, and if the local tests are anything like the ones in other parts of Canada the system will “exceed our expectations” – as many beta testers have said.

Starlink should be ready for sale/distribution very shortly (January or early 2021) and will roll out very quickly. The Initial setup will cost around $649 with a monthly subscription of $129 for unlimited bandwidth. Speeds of 150mb/s-200mb/s are typical within the beta test. Speeds like these allow for streaming on multiple devices and a much more enhanced internet experience for all.

Setting the system up doesn’t require any advanced technical knowledge. The system itself comes in a box shipped directly to you, with a stand, satellite dish, a long cable and a router. Put the satellite dish with a sky view, plug the system in and it pretty much configures itself. The system itself is small and portable, so someone could take it back and forth to camp with ease.

What will this mean for us? It means that in a world driven by the internet and reliance on high-speed internet, we won’t be tied to our population centres, we can spread out, return to the country and out into the remoteness of the bush. We will no longer need to work from home; we can work from the campsite. It allows us to video conference from a mountain top, have multiple VOIP phone systems, to keep completely up to date with the outside world, no matter where we choose to live. And we can even stream the latest movies and TV shows in full HD from our tent in the backcountry if we choose to.

Another effect of widely available high-speed internet available everywhere will be that the current monopolies (Bell, Rogers and Shaw) will have competition and maybe, just maybe, the big internet companies will need to lower their prices to keep their subscribers. We do currently pay some of the highest rates for internet and data in the world.

For updates or to see if you can access the beta program visit; https://www.starlink.com/.

Coverage map to Starlink high-speed satellite-based internet system – Local residents are already receiving the service where currently they had no other high-speed options.

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