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Thread: Anyone here a Starlink "Best Effort" user?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    southeast Michigan
    Posts
    436

    Anyone here a Starlink "Best Effort" user?

    I've been on Starlink's list for a couple of years now and availability in my area has gotten delayed at least twice now. Yesterday I received an email from them asking if I was interested in getting their "Best Effort" service now since the latest projection for full residential service is now mid-2023. My cost would be the same as their regular service and I would not lose my place in line for full service. Speeds would be slower (https://www.starlink.com/legal/docum...?regionCode=US), especially during peak periods.

    I will likely hold off until full service is available but I was wondering if anyone on the forum has this "Best Effort" service and what they experience with it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    2,046
    I don't have "best effort" but during peak times my speed will drop below 5mbps. Sunday nights are the worst. I just checked right now and I got 70mbps/10mbps while streaming TV. So very good. It'll drop to about 10mbps/1mbps in a couple hours and then return to above 50/10 near midnight. If you have terrible internet now and you aren't too worried about having super fast service at 9pm then I wouldn't wait. I seriously doubt that by next summer everything will be sorted out. You'll just see speeds slowly improve. Since it's the same equipment and the same service for the same price I think Starlink is just trying to lower expectations.

    What I think Starlink is really saying is "we've oversold our service". Their goal of having over 40,000 satellites in orbit seems like more of a dream right now. The 1st gen satellites weigh around 500lbs while the 2nd gen ones weight about a ton. I can't see them ever launching more than 100 per mission with their larger rocket. That's about 70 missions per year, or about one mission every 5 days. Again, that's not their current Falcon 9 rocket which can only handle about 1/4 of the satellites. In a few years they are going to have to start replacing satellites as their lifespan is only 5 to 7 years.

    Unless you know you need super fast download speeds 100mbps will more than meet your needs for the wife an I. I could see a house full of teens needing more speed than us. Streaming TV is the only thing that I do that uses lots of data. I have a really cheap live TV service that struggles when speeds drop below about 5mbps but then I just switch to a different app (PLEX) and watch VOD without issues.

    Starlink could do other upgrades that don't involve satellites to help speed up their service. The satellites send the information sent up to them from your house to "gateways". There's probably a dozen gateways around the Michigan area. From there they send the information to "POP"s. A pop, or Point Of Presence, where data can get onto the main internet. From there data goes all over the world. Starlink uses 9 POPs in the US. The lag (or ping time) is a measurement of time it takes for one bit of information to go from your house to a POP and back. My ping times are usually 60ms to 80ms. People wrongly assume that the delay is the time it takes to go up to the satellite and then back down to the gateway but that's wrong. On average it's about 10ms to go up then back down. So the delay could be reduced by adding more POP locations and gateways. Starlink's plan is to send the data from satellite to satellite to avoid the delays on the ground. That's a feature of the 2nd gen satellites but not functional yet.

  3. #3
    A year ago, I signed up with high hopes and assurance from Starlink that I would likely see some brief outages, but that service would be mostly stable, and transfer rates improving all the time. I understand somewhere in the conversation there was a similar phrase, like "beta-tester" or "best effort" inserted as a qualifier.
    After losing internet for 10days over the previous holiday period while still on Century-Stink, who could care less whether your service is working or not, we were willing to take a chance.
    Though there was much trepidation over the fact that we live in a very deep canyon, we couldn't be happier.
    Super-easy to setup. Thought the kit was a bit overpriced, until I realized it has a built-in heater to mitigate ice/snow, and is motorized to continually tweak itself for optimal connection.
    Best investment in IT we ever made.

    jeff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    southeast Michigan
    Posts
    436
    Jeff, glad to hear you're happy with your Starlink service. Alex, thank you for the detailed explanation on the system and your experience with your service. I'm somewhat disappointed in hearing about the speeds you are getting; a far cry from the 100 mbps that I thought would be fairly consistent. I had a hard time with the $500 cost of the hardware but bit the bullet on that one. Then about a year after putting my $90 deposit (one month service) down I got an email saying they were raising service cost to $110/month. And when I signed up the estimated service for my area was late summer of last year. Then it went to mid summer of this year and now it's mid summer of 2023.

    After reading your replies I decided to check on another possible option. A little background - I live in a rural area about a 1000 feet off a main, 2 lane road. I'm the third house. About 4 years ago Spectrum ran fiber optic cabling along the main road and there was subsidy money to connect my 2 neighbors closer to that main road but not me. I called Spectrum back then to see about getting service and was told that it would cost me just under $2000 to get connected. I called again about a year later and was told the same thing. Before making a decision on this Starlink option I decided to call Spectrum again and discovered that there is now subsidy money to get me connected and I would only have to pay a $50 installation fee. It will be about a month and a half before they can come out but needless to say I'm thrilled to be able to get their 500 mbps plan for much less than the Starlink monthly cost.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    2,046
    Nice. There's firer on the main road about 3/4 of a mile from my house but it's doubtful it'll ever run up my ROW. I would spend more than what Starlink cost to get fiber if I had the option. The last week or so has been good and my Starlink speeds have gone back up most of the time. I think they were able to get some more satellites in service as I haven't seen speeds below 50/10 mbps. I don't think it'll ever compete with fiberoptic cable though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    southeast Michigan
    Posts
    436
    Good to hear Alex. Maybe somebody at Starlink read this thread and put you on the "plus" list.

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