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SpaceX Looks to Expand Starlink’s Broadband Capacity in UK

Friday, Apr 26th, 2024 (12:39 pm) - Score 4,600

SpaceX is seeking approval from Ofcom for a variation of its existing gateway licence, which would enable Starlink’s mega constellation of ultrafast broadband satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to improve its capacity, such as by expanding the number of gateway antennas at several UK sites and adopting additional bands.

The operator currently has 5,874 LEO satellites in orbit around the Earth (altitudes of c.500-600km) and they’re in the process of adding thousands more by the end of 2027. Customers in the UK typically pay from £75 a month for a 30-day term, plus £449 for hardware (currently discounted to £225 or £150 if refurbished) on the ‘Standard’ plan, which promises internet latency times of 25-50ms, downloads of c. 25-100Mbps and uploads of c. 5-10Mbps.

NOTE: At the end of 2023 Starlink’s global network had 2.3 million customers (currently 2.6m) and 42,000 of those were in the UK (up from 13,000 in 2022) – mostly in rural areas.

In order to operate this network in the UK, the provider currently holds several NGSO (Non-Geostationary Earth Station) gateway licences, which help to connect their NGSO system to the internet via large dishes on the ground. SpaceX wants to update four of these to help boost capacity and “serve growing demand for its broadband services” (mostly to serve their latest Gen 2 satellites).

Specifically, SpaceX is seeking permission from Ofcom to expand the number of antennas hosted at four of its remaining seven sites – Fawley (licence number 1293217), Isle of Man (licence number 249304/1), Wherstead (licence number 1293534) and Woodwalton (licence number 1293303). The gateway sites are currently authorised to operate up to 9 Ka-band parabolic antennas; they serve customers in the UK and adjacent countries.

SpaceX’s Request to Ofcom

➤ An additional 24 antennas at Fawley, Wherstead and Woodwalton, bringing the total number of antennas at each of those sites to 32. It plans to operate these new antennas in the bands: 27.5-28.0525 GHz, 28.4445-29.0605 GHz, 29.4525-30GHz.

➤ An additional 32 antennas at its Isle of Man site, bringing the total there to 40. SpaceX already has access to all the frequencies it wishes to use (27.5-30GHz) at the Isle of Man site.

Our initial assessment is that SpaceX’s requested variation should not unduly affect other licenced NGSO services, future NGSO services, GSO services or Fixed links operating in the same user frequencies,” said the regulator’s consultation, which will remain open for responses until 31st May 2024.

NOTE: The FCC in the United States has so far authorised Starlink’s Gen1 constellation for 4,408 satellites and their Gen2 constellation for 7,500.

Separately, satellite operator Inmarsat (Viasat) has applied for an NGSO Earth Station Network Licence for its new GX-10 non-geostationary orbiting (NGSO) satellite system (here). “Inmarsat has stated it plans to use GX-10 to extend the coverage of its existing Global Xpress satellite system over the polar region, providing satellite communication services to government, defence, aero and maritime commercial customers,” said Ofcom.

Inmarsat’s proposed service area covers latitudes above 65N and their satellites will also provide intermittent service over parts of the UK, although this isn’t their main focus. The service will use the Ka-band frequencies 19.7 – 20.2GHz and 29.5 – 30GHz. Ofcom are consulting on all this until 31st May 2024, but have provisionally proposed to approve the request.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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20 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Dean says:

    My starlink standard subscription regularly tops 300mb/s and rarely below 100Mb/s. The pings are between 20-50ms

    1. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

      I used Starlink full time for the past 6 months, and agree, overall it was a great experience, always over 100, usually up to 300 but some multithreaded downloads I had it hitting 400.

      In the absence of full fibre, it is a brilliant alternative to FTTC. Expensive, yes, but fast, also yes.

      Now moved mine to roaming mode and paused as it’s off the house…

    2. Avatar photo John says:

      I’m paying 50 quid on BT for 100, in reality I get like 70 download and between 5 to 20 upload so it is only expensive relative to cheap altnets

    3. Avatar photo Cognizant says:


      It is only cheap if it is available. If nothing is available then it might as well be £1 a month…

      If any form of FTTP is available, then you should not be looking at Starlink, end of story.

    4. Avatar photo tech3475 says:


      What type of connection/circumstances do you have? Because that’s expensive even by OR standards, unless there’s something else going on e.g. you’re restricted in ISP choices.

    5. Avatar photo lamerrrrr says:

      Same here.

      They are currently giving Costco customers month 2 and 3 free and it’s £200.. Good value and as more Gen 2’s go up the better the speeds will be

    6. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      “If any form of FTTP is available, then you should not be looking at Starlink, end of story.”

      funny. because that’s not what Starlink themselves say.
      I keep seeing you redditor types appear and spout the same lines that if you have DSL or 5G then you’re not “the intended market” and yet Starlink themselves quite clearly state residential and urban areas on their own website.

      Here’s a cool idea, how about you let people decide if the product is for them or not?

    7. Avatar photo Jonathan says:

      If you have any form of FTTP available then choosing Starlink is an idiotic choice that only the ill-informed would make. Starlink is £75 a month with a £450 “router”. For £42 a month if you had Openreach FTTP available you could take a 900Mbps service from Plusnet and have the router provided for free. Instead of the ~100W the Starlink dish consumes you would be more like 15W so a considerable saving in electricity. Further rather than being on CGNAT you would have a proper IPv4 address and for the pricely one off sum of £5 you could even get a static IP.

      AltNet FTTP providers are not going to be wildly different, and most will be cheaper. So under what circumstance if you had FTTP available would Starlink be a rational solution? You might be able to come up with some corner case solutions but for the vast vast majority of people if you have FTTP then Starlink is not for you.

    8. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Starlink are hardly going to tell people not to consider their service: they want to sell it.

      It’s slower than FTTP in terms of bandwidth, costs more, has higher latency and CGNAT. There is no reason to purchase it over fixed line other than wanting to hug Elon Musk’s nuts.

  2. Avatar photo Robert Dale says:

    Yep starlink could be alot cheaper they should look at BT prices, I have got the hardware as a backup if the main line fails or anything happens with BT infrastructure

  3. Avatar photo Clearmind60 says:

    What a surprise, we in the UK pay far more than most developed countries. These prices are too much.

    1. Avatar photo JP says:


    2. Avatar photo Onephat says:

      Launching satellites, developing the hardware, ground stations etc etc isn’t cheap. Starlink offers people with previously no choice a choice. We have Virgin available to us but picked Starlink. For what it is and for what it offers I don’t think it’s too expensive.

    3. Avatar photo John says:

      Yep, noticed Starlink is much cheaper in EU countries.

    4. Avatar photo lamerrrrr says:

      The prices are cheaper as there is less demand and it’s incentive. No one mentions however the Gen 2 terminals cost Elon $2500 to make.. but he sells them for 1/4 of the price..

      Funny that.

    5. Avatar photo JimB says:

      @lamerrrrr that $2500 figure was in a business insider article and has never been substantiated. Having dismantled my own dish for flat mounting on a motor home and studied many tear down videos. I can say there is nothing particularly special about the electrics other than the weird Ethernet cabling strand order. The new Gen 3 dishes are even cheaper to produce as they lack the motors of the gen 2. The modems themselves are very basic and completely unneeded to get a Starlink connection.

  4. Avatar photo Mark says:

    It would be nice to get some original comments on Starlink that are actually worth reading…

    It’s expensive – yes, but so is heating your flat with electricity, but it’s better than freezing if you’ve not got gas.
    It’s cheaper elsewhere – simplistic and naive.
    Elon Musk is a dick/saint (not yet, but I’m sure it’s on its way…)
    Etc, etc

    1. Avatar photo lamerrrrr says:

      Starlink has many excellent uses. For some it’s been a literal liesaver. Some use it on the move and some in places where there is no mobile signal at all an the only option has been double the cost capped providers like Hughesnet.

      One guy was 10 miles from the nearest town in Alaska and he had SL in his trunk and using his car for power managed to flag emergency services. Alright a Modern Iphone will let you do that – but he was also able to tell friends and family his situation.

      For some £80 a month is nothing considering what it can do. I have 1 dishy mounted and one in my camper van. I prefer to use it when away and I only ever pay for 2 weeks worth. Not having to worry if you will get any internet or mobile signal when you get to where you want to go is priceless.

  5. Avatar photo William Wilkinson says:

    This website is awesome. I read this article with interest as a Starlink customer in north west England, I probably use the isle of Man gateway. I’ll be interested to hear the outcome of the request to ofcom and would like to know when the additional antennas are online.

  6. Avatar photo Nathan Styler says:

    Love the futuristic tech.

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