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Starlink Extends LEO Satellite Broadband Coverage in the UK

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021 (10:06 am) - Score 8,640
starlink user terminal SpaceX

In a brief announcement Starlink (SpaceX) has today confirmed that their new constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) based ultrafast broadband satellites is “now available in parts of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England,” which is in addition to existing service areas across southern England.

At present SpaceX has already launched around 1,200 LEOs into orbit (space) around the earth and their initial ambition is to deploy a total of 4,425 by 2024, which could potentially be followed by up to 12,000 at a later date (possibly late 2026). The service has already gone live in the USA, Canada, parts of the UK and is now extending into Europe, albeit mostly still in the beta and early pre-order phase.

Customers typically pay £89 per month for the service itself, plus £54 for shipping and £439 for the kit (dish, router etc.). For that you can expect unlimited usage, good latency times to 20-40ms, downloads of between 50-150Mbps and uploads of c.20Mbps. During the beta phase there’s still the potential for some connection drops, but this should be ironed out as the network expands.

However, initially if you wanted to take Starlink in the United Kingdom then you could only do so in southern England, but a new email from the company confirms that it’s now available to use in other parts of the UK.

Starlink’s Email (Recieved by ISPreview.co.uk)

Starlink is now available in parts of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England, in addition to existing service areas in southern England.

During beta, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.

To check availability for your location, visit starlink.com and re-enter your service address. If Starlink is not yet available in your area, you can place a deposit to hold your space in line for future service.

Now if they could just produce a 50Mbps package for about half the current monthly rental then that would start to help with the affordability issues over this side of the pond. We should add that SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk, recently said that he expected end-user download speeds to hit around 300Mbps by the end of 2021 (here).

Leave a Comment
51 Responses
  1. Avatar Ryan says:

    Genuinely hope they come in and cause a massive shake up to the forgotten and ignored areas of the UK.

    Price is an issue at the moment, but it gives some people what they have never had before, an option to get faster speed. Wish them all the best and anything to stop the monopoly!

    1. Avatar 125us says:

      What monopoly is that?

    2. Avatar Ryan says:

      The monopoly of towns or villages who only have OR/BT who wont provide adequate speeds.

      No altnets or Virgin are interested so they are essentially stuck. Starlink helps with that.

      My town is an example 25K houses, just FTTC and 4G speed is lower so everyone has one choice.

    3. Avatar JP says:

      Lots of choices, just not choices people want, and it’ll be interesting to see how starlink would cope with 12,500 properties connected in the same area that’s for sure.

      My interest right now is what you see from your FTTC??

    4. Avatar Marek says:

      Shakeup of what? 3 to 4 percent of customers? This isn’t enough for all rural or semi rural areas :).

    5. Avatar Just a bloke says:

      I agree, the current set of ISP’s are a joke in most towns and cities. If you live in a rural area then broadband is non existent.
      The speeds and coverage from the ISPs is a joke. I know lots of people who live in towns, cities and in the countryside who do not have fast broadband speeds.
      Why because it’s restricted to BT / OR mostly. The cabinets are old and are full up or the network is so out of date it’s beyond a joke. BT / OR took all the governments money to expanded and introduce fibre broadband and did not do it.
      The alternate ISP’s, Vodaphone, Sky, Talk Talk, Zen , etc all use the OR network.
      Virgin is a monopoly so that’s out and it’s coverage is limited.
      I fully endorse the Starlink project and everything Elon Musk is doing to drag the greedy old fat cats in to the 21 century and show them a younger dynamic forward thinking person can do instead of taking back handers and refusing to look to the stars.

  2. Avatar David Lomax says:

    I live in the Midlands, and I ordered Starlink (well, placed the £89 deposit) on 23rd February. I am very excited, because though I live in a town, my FTTP connection is too slow. Despite the town being on the list for Openreach’s next 60 Towns and Cities Fiber follout, nothing is visibly happening anywhere in the county. I check ispreview and one.network daily, but now I am following the Starlink launches too!

    1. Avatar Jono says:

      How can your FTTP connection be to slow? Do you mean FTTC?

    2. Avatar JP says:

      How slow is slow?

    3. Avatar David Lomax says:

      Gosh I was half asleep when I wrote that. Yes, FTTC, it’s about 20 Mbit. Still no sign of FTTP.

    4. Avatar Anna says:

      I just shifted my mate onto BT he was paying £27,99 a month to Plusnet for 24/6 and now he’s getting 150/30 for £29,99 a month – Bargain!

  3. Avatar Elon's Bae says:

    Seeing lots of cope from those working in places rolling out FTTP

    “It’ll have rubbish latency, and be almost unusable etc”

    Whilst they drag cables around for months/years bragging on LinkedIn about their new city roll-out

    Hope Starlink gives UK ISPs a massive kick up the behind 😉

  4. Avatar Dave says:

    It would be nice for OneWeb to get a move on and start offering at least a limited service in the UK, otherwise they’ll have to be significantly cheaper or perform significantly faster than Starlink to get a foothold in the market.

    And will they be able to get away with charging for the necessary equipment marked up several times like Starlink are doing? I doubt it.

    1. Avatar Jonathan says:

      I think OneWeb also updated this morning or late last night (9th March) by stating everyone above 50 degrees North is covered.

    2. Avatar Parzival says:

      I believe they are aiming for a November roll-out in the UK and as Jonathan mentioned focusing on above 50 degrees latitude North.

    3. Avatar Jonathan says:

      Here is the link.
      It is not yet on their own website rather via a Tweet:
      https://www.capacitymedia.com/articles/3827944/oneweb-plans-gen-two-satellites-as-it-signs-73m-terminal-deal

    4. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      “And will they be able to get away with charging for the necessary equipment marked up several times like Starlink are doing?”

      In fairness, satellite dishes and routers are inherently expensive across the board (a setup cost of £300 to £600 is not uncommon), which is partly because they aren’t mass market products (little benefit from economics of scale and require special software/modems) in the same way as traditional broadband routers are.

    5. Avatar An unending magic money forest... (except for our nurses) says:

      The only thing OneWeb is moving-on to, is its next bankruptcy.

    6. Avatar Grauniad-reader-iamverysmart says:

      I bet the person with the silly long name was one of those “wrong kinda satellite” people who regurgitated the words of one academic who didn’t work in the space field and was out of his depth. Meanwhile, Oneweb will be adding GPS and they’re not the wrong kind.

      Also not going bankrupt and DARPA/DoD are handing them a few billion to enhance their services with. The doomongers like to spread the doom. Pity that they’re always lacking in fact

    7. Avatar NeilM says:

      I don’t think the cost of starlink dish is anywhere near the cost of say a sky dish for comparison. It is significantly more expensive, since the “dish” in this case, is a phased array.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/Starlink/comments/k11ehg/spacex_is_outsourcing_starlink_satellitedish/gdlf200/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      “If” the costs reported above via the Business insider are close to being true, then the challenge of making the dishes at a reasonable cost is very significant, and would take a long period to recoup by a monthly subscription on top of other running costs, even at £89.

      A BBC interview with some one from OneWeb and some others about OneWeb.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000srgc

  5. Avatar Optimist says:

    “Customers typically pay £89 per month for the service itself, plus £54 for shipping and £439 for the kit (dish, router etc.)”

    Are these prices inclusive of VAT?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I believe so, but perhaps one of the early adopters can confirm?

    2. Avatar Kyle says:

      I just checked availability and I’m covered. Those prices include VAT.

    3. Avatar Rob says:

      Where are you Kyle?

    4. Avatar Kyle says:

      Near Wigan.

    5. Avatar Anna says:

      And yet I am on the NE Coast – I am not covered but I have seen today 9 satellites fly directly over my town!

      makes no sense!

  6. Avatar Pablo says:

    If you can’t get better speeds this seems like a small price to pay in my mind but yeah it’s expensive. I’ve seen a few people take the dishes apart and it’s all solid state custom I would be surprised if they are making money on the kit. A few months ago I was 100% sceptical but reviews seem to confirm the hype and when they can get the satellite cross linking working rather than each satellite having to see the ground station I think they will have a really amazing product.

  7. Avatar Rob says:

    I’m in South East UK, placed my deposit a while ago – still waiting for an order option. Is there anyway to see what areas they cover currently?

    1. Avatar Anthony Goodman says:

      You could maybe message the Thinkbroadband admin and ask them to include it on their universal coverage map?

    2. Avatar Anna says:

      Rob here is the live map

      https://satellitemap.space/

  8. Avatar Anthony Goodman says:

    I just did a test search. I am in Newcastle upon Tyne and to my absolute amazement it said

    “Starlink is targeting coverage in your area in mid to late 2021.”

    Hardware; £439.00
    Service;£89.00 /mo
    Shipping & Handling;£54.00
    Pricing above includes local taxes totaling approx. £97.00
    Due Today; £89.00

    I am not sure how they got the £97 if its £89 per month and that was what was due today?

    I would have taken this offer up in an instant if I didn’t see a few weeks ago that CityFibre are beginning the installation to my street in mid May on Roadworks.org.

    1. Avatar Mark says:

      I think that’s the VAT on the kit plus carriage. It’s included in the total, not added on top, and all that is due now in a one month deposit.

  9. Avatar David says:

    If BDUK funds could be used towards this service it could be a very credible alternative to the subsidised BT rural broadband roll out for the last 4 to 5% of premises.

  10. Avatar Martin says:

    Will the R100 scheme in Scotland offer any help with funding a Starlink connection?

    1. Avatar JP says:

      Highly unlikely

    2. Avatar Nathan says:

      I enquired about this with Digital Scotland and wondered whether the one-off £400 would cover at least the hardware costs. This is what they had to say (some info, some boilerplate):

      *******************************************************************
      Unfortunately Starlink only provide a beta service at the moment and are testing and debugging their satellite Starlink service in a real world environment. As such they are unable to commit to the supplier requirements of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme (SBVS) and are not entitled to claim for the voucher on your behalf.

      Good news, a superfast connection is being built in your area as part of the Scottish Governments broadband improvement scheme.

      Your connection will be delivered after the end of 2021. More details will be available later this year.

      The new connection will mean your address can get faster internet speeds. That’ll make it easier to videocall loved ones, watch shows online, work from home, and more – without any hiccups.

      What about between now and then?

      You may be able to get a one-off £400 voucher from the Scottish Government. You will have to engage a registered provider to apply for this funding on your behalf by 31 December 2021. There is more information about vouchers and providers here.

      This voucher can be used for the cost of fitting a faster commercial broadband supply in the meantime. Think of this as a temporary way to speed things up until the permanent connection is up and running. Options might include things like satellite broadband and more.
      *******************************************************************

  11. Avatar Neil says:

    I see it’s getting a rollout to Western Germany and new Zealand South Island.

    1. Avatar Anna says:

      There are 6 base stations in NZ and a group of 69 satellites are currently working over it at 4KM/hour. It’s like drone speed 🙂

  12. Avatar James says:

    Southern Scotland here and I pre-ordered a month or so ago now.
    Waiting patiently for my email saying it’s been shipped!

    We currently have point to point wireless internet and it’s not the best!

  13. Avatar Bill says:

    $500 dollars in pounds is £360, $99 is £71, don’t know how they get these prices. We always get ripped off in the UK. I’m hoping we get fibre to prem soon, in rural east herts, so don’t hold my breath.

    1. Avatar Tony says:

      Because US prices are quoted without any taxes, UK prices include VAT. We still pay more but not as much as it first appears.

  14. Avatar Rod Swan says:

    Near the wash, kit due to arrive on Wednesday.

    1. Avatar Darren says:

      Kit to arrive on wednesday, -That’s SO awesome!

      Keep us posted for sure! -I am within northampton and have only paid the first subscription charge which is all they have asked for presently and nothing further with regards to communications at all from SpaceX or Starlink.

      I am happy to wait, I’m really interested to be part of the Starlink user community and even though have faster or better communication methods to use, this product has a very personal value to me as well and I’m happy to pay the costs along with further subscription fees even if the current speed and service level is carried further throughout lifecycle usage.

      I mean it would be amazing to obtain a near 1/1GbE connection even with double to triple the FTTP latency for this cost but I would still be just as happy with a roughly currently in-use speed service notion as well.

      It would also be great to clearly outline the total end portability usage notion as well, because presently it’s not mentioned much due to the current amount of satellites launched and in-service so the reason they only contact whom would need to know, would be those in desired areas which are commonly available to gain access to the service.

      So I’m hopeful I can take Starlink within say a mile or two without much hassle but I’m not presently expecting to span half the UK and go around europe in various directions and demand the service works but at a later date as more coverage by satellites exists I hope the service is not geofenced.

      I also don’t go far but it seems to me be a step back if folks are geofenced in the future as well, kinda defects the overall purpose right? So I’d really like that to be addressed in the future.

    2. Avatar Anna says:

      yet I am in Boston and I can’t get it yet!

      FFS!

    3. Avatar Anna says:

      You can now change service address and take it with you – winner!

    4. Avatar Anna says:

      @Darren it was tested – was 11 miles but now SL let you change the address and in 20 mins you are locked to the new location.

      They are putting it on trains and ships so I assume that will end soon anyway

  15. Avatar Tim Clapham says:

    Amazingly & out the blue my STARLINK kit arrived on the 15th March no alerting email just a courier dropping it off, as a previous contributor said when ordered they were looking at mid to late 2021 for coverage for our on the border Cheshire/Derbyshire/Staffordshire
    In the Peak District so even more of a shock on its delivery. It’s an amazing bit of kit & is beautifully & cleverly packaged & is so simple to setup, it comes with a 100 feet of cable to be able to site your dish as it comes with a small 3 legged stand to place on your lawn or yard, it’s amazing on plugging it in to see the dish st is self up & search for the orbiting satellites once logged in & connected to a satellite we achieved a speed of 111mbs download & around 20 upload, all looking good or so I thought. I had not realised that the dish requires 360 degrees as it is motorised & rotates in every direction so even though we have a daily large country garden, we have very large trees everywhere & the fact that we live in valley so the hills rise all around us. I mention the cable which seems pretty long at 100 feet but even at double the length I would struggle to site the dish to avoid obstructs, 1 cool thing about the cable which is not extendable, is that it carries the power & connect to the satellite but it also heats the dish to stop snow build up (so not so cool ha!)
    After the first day the very clever app told me that I had been obstructed for 7 hours bearing in mind that we have no leaves on the trees yet & you are informed that even a twig will obstruct the signal making it drop out. Our 2nd issue being that my son plays video games, at the moment it’s Fortnit unfortunately he couldn’t play it as it kept dropping out & kicking him out of the game, so even though it’s in Beta mode at the moment it is going to have to go back, as not able to pay the £89 pm subscription & pay £404 which incidentally comes out of your account on the day your kit arrive, again no warning invoice or any communication.
    We then come onto plea for help, I have been trying for almost 2 weeks, the day after equipment arrived to request STARLINK to return the equipment but here’s the strange one, you have to do this via the app which I had only just set to log into to setup but since I’ve been trying to log & requested a.reset I’ve heard nothing from STARLINK & have spent hours looking for contact details in the UK bu anywhere I have poker to various organisations including Citizens Advice but no one has been able to help, I have 30 days to return it, HELP
    PS I plugged equipment in the other day & got 250mbs download it’s amazing just not right for us in our location at least at present.

    1. Avatar Anna says:

      This would be great for me I have bungalows all around me and no trees! I am ordering right now. Stuff the cost I need this and there are many sats going over the UK one just went over my town!

  16. Avatar Anna says:

    Look at this map it’s insane! – they have groups of 60 satellites together!

    https://satellitemap.space/

    Then look at oneweb’s coverage it’s pretty much LOL

    1. Avatar Anna says:

      What I don’t get is this..

      “Starlink is targeting coverage in your area in mid to late 2021. You will receive a notification once your Starlink is ready to ship”

      According to the map there is 1 flying over my part of the UK right now with 12 others in the next hour..

      So why can’t I get it? lol

  17. Avatar Anna says:

    Not available to me and yet I am literally under this lot! LOL

    They are so funny…

    https://ibb.co/Fnk2jZ0

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