Starlink vs Fiber Optic Internet: Which One Should You Choose?

starlink internet vs fiber

With the latest launch of SpaceX rockets, it is believed that Starlink satellite internet will offer revolutionary speeds. This can mean the rebirth of satellite internet connections in the USA. Some internet lovers are even comparing Starlink satellite internet to a fiber internet connection. To help you out of this dilemma and clear the confusion once and for all, we will be doing a thorough comparison of both the services. Starlink vs Fiber optic internet, which one should users choose?

Starlink has already begun its beta testing and will become commercial by the end of the year. According to reports and beta testers, the upgrades to Starlink internet connection may put it on par with the best internet connection available in the USA. Let’s have a detailed look at Starlink internet vs Fiber to see how they compare in several situations. Hopefully, we will be able to understand which service will soon come out on top.

What Is Starlink Internet?

Starlink is the latest addition to the satellite internet race in the USA. However, it is stated to be different from the traditional satellite internet service. Starlink promises to deliver high-speed internet speeds even in the most remote corners of the planet. Starlink’s satellite network consists of a “Constellation” of 30,000 small and highly agile satellites spread across the globe. Now compare this to the current number of satellites orbiting the earth, just 2000. This should give you an idea of how large the connection of Starlink internet will be.

What makes Starlink satellite internet even better is that all the satellites reside in Low Earth Orbit. The satellites are just above 300 miles above the earth while other traditional satellites are 22,000 miles above the earth. This height difference will bring certain advantages to users such as better satellite internet speed & significantly lower latency. Also, it is reported that connection reliability will be improved which has been one of the weak points of satellite internet.

What Is Fiber Optic Internet?

Fiber internet was the latest addition to the types of internet connection until the arrival of Starlink internet. It is considered one of the most advanced broadband connections. Fiber optics internet is delivered to users with the help of small, flexible glass strands. Unlike the cable internet which utilizes copper cables to deliver internet connection. Fiber cables deliver internet connections via light pulse which makes them the fastest internet connection available. It literally transfers data as “fast as the speed of light” with speeds reaching up to 1 GBPS. 

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Fiber optical cables are below the ground which reduces the risk of external interruptions like electrical storms, weather changes, and much more.

How Fast Is Starlink Internet?

Speed tests for Starlink internet beta testing users (November 30, 2020) offer downloading speed of around 104Mbps and upload speeds of up to 16Mbps, it also offers a latency of 39Ms.

Beta testing of Starlink internet offers speeds of 50-150 Mbps which shows great promise as beta tester got speeds between the advertised ones. It’s always great to see the beta testing speeds match up to the speeds that the company advertised. If you compare Starlink satellite internet with the current top dogs of satellite internet industry like HughesNet, then Starlink is already ahead of other satellite providers. To be fair, if Starlink keeps on providing such services, it will blow out the other providers out of the water soon.

Starlink vs Fiber: Speed

Optical fiber internet connection is known as the fastest internet connection available in the world right now. Chances are it may lose the title of the fastest internet connection soon. Due to the low orbiting satellites, Starlink has also promised an average internet speed of 1 GBPS. Needless to say, this will blow other satellite internet providers like Viasat & HughesNet out of the competition race. Till now, the best speed offered by satellite internet providers is 100 MBPS. Although increased bandwidth is not all Starlink is bringing to the table. 

Starlink has also promised the lowest latency rate till now. In case you don’t know, Latency is the time taken by your internet signal to make a round trip from your device to the server and back. Latency or ping is measured in milliseconds (ms), the lower your latency is, the better your connection is. 

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Fiber internet connection’s latency speed is around 17 ms which is a bit faster than cable internet (25-30 ms). Starlink on the other hand is expected to launch its internet latency below 20 ms and eventually reach below 10 ms. If these predictions are in fact true, then Starlink internet will be named the new fastest internet connection based on the bandwidth and latency offered. While most people won’t care about the difference between 17 ms & 10 ms, but for gamers, it will make a lot of difference. In terms of speed, Starlink wins the Starlink internet vs fiber comparison. 

Fiber Optic vs Starlink Internet: Cost

The average cost of your fiber internet connection ranges between $40-$80 per month. Based on the type of plan and speed you choose, the cost can go either higher or lower. The best thing about Fiber internet connectivity is that even though its newer and technological advance, it costs less than top cable internet plans. 

Starlink hasn’t announced any internet plan or cost yet, but an interview with the SpaceX president hinted at the price to be starting around $80 per month. If this information holds true then Starlink Internet price would be the same as its fiber internet counterpart for 1GBPS.

SpaceX founder Mr. Elon Musk has also confirmed that they are planning to make the Starlink internet plans and prices as cheap as possible for low-income areas. Until there are no confirmed plans and price limit, we will give this win to Fiber internet. 

Starlink vs Fiber Optic: Availability & Reliability

We all know that the Fiber internet connection’s weak point is availability. Starlink internet definitely has an advantage over fiber in terms of availability. Satellite internet connectivity in general is one of the most widely available internet connection as it is not bound by cables. The only reason satellite internet is still available in the times of high-speed internet is its availability in remote areas. Elon Musk claimed that he wishes to serve even 3% of the hardest to reach the population with Starlink satellite internet connectivity.

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Fiber internet connectivity on the other hand is still making its baby step as most of the ground cable network is still being laid out. It is one of the most expensive forms of internet tech to set up that’s why top fiber internet providers are taking their time to spread the lines. Only the biggest cities in the USA have the access to fiber internet connectivity. While Starlink isn’t available anywhere right now, but once it goes commercial, it will be everywhere. Leaving fiber internet leagues behind in terms of availability.

Fiber may lose out to satellite internet in terms of availability, but when it comes to reliability, fiber has the upper hand. Fiber cables are below ground which saves them from external interruptions like weather and electrical interference. Satellite internet is most highly affected by weather and other external factors. While little to nothing is known as to how Starlink will handle this situation, we have to assume that it won’t be as reliable as Fiber internet. We will just have to wait and watch.

Pros and Cons of Starlink Internet vs Fiber

ProsCons
StarlinkLightning fast speeds + Low latencyUniversal availabilityPossibly accessible by low income and least covered areas.Network is in beta testing, No real results.No information about pricing.Possible reliability issues like most satellite internet service.
FiberLightning fast speeds + Low LatencyGrounded Cable Network + High ReliabilityMultiple price points and packages availableLimited availability throughout the country.Plans can be more expensive in comparison to cable internet.

Final Take: Fiber Vs Starlink Internet

To be honest, if Starlink internet service stands up to all the claims made by them then it can be a revolutionary change. Even before the launch, Starlink has some great things promised such as availability and estimated speed and price points. Most parts of the country don’t have access to fiber internet connectivity right now so Starlink can offer fiber-like speed everywhere then it will change the whole broadband sector.

Till Starlink satellite internet isn’t available and hasn’t fulfilled on any promises, we suggest you stick with fiber internet connectivity as best internet service. If you are concerned about whether your location has fiber internet or not, give our executives a call. The team at Club HDTV is full of internet enthusiasts and we help you in finding the best fiber internet price and plans in your zip code.

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