Starlink Resurgence? Speeds Increase in Europe and Oceania
Ookla® is back with exciting, fresh data from Q3 and Q4 2022 for SpaceX’s Starlink and Sky Logic in Europe and Oceania, as well as new Starlink markets we haven’t yet featured in our ongoing series on satellite internet. With the FCC greenlighting Amazon’s Project Kuiper and many other exciting satellite developments launching this year, we’re certain all eyes will be on the sky in 2023 as new orbital connectivity options become available for consumers.
This analysis includes Starlink results from six new countries, and data for Starlink and Sky Logic in Europe and Starlink in Oceania. We also examine how Starlink’s internet performance has changed over the past year in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
Starlink is mostly speeding up again from Q3 to Q4 2022, but is still slower than a year ago
As Starlink rides the wave of becoming an increasingly popular connectivity option for consumers, we’ve seen the service speed up and then slow down year-over-year in most markets. However, Q4 2022 data shows many countries are experiencing a modest rise in median download speeds when compared to Q3 2022. That’s encouraging for consumers, especially as Starlink hit over 1 million users in Q4 2022, and could be a sign that Starlink seems to be maturing its constellation’s capacity. That’s particularly intriguing as Starlink launches more next-gen satellites, which were first deployed at the tail end of Q4 2022 and will most likely show up in Q1 2023 results.
In Europe, all the countries we evaluated for year-over-year median download speeds were slower for Q4 2022 than Q4 2021 when there were fewer users on each network. Most countries showed between 10-20% slower speeds in Q4 2022 than what users experienced in Q4 2021, including Ireland (at least 11% slower), Austria (at least 13%), Portugal (at least 14%), Italy (at least 15%), Germany (at least 16%), and the U.K. (at least 19%). Users in France saw very similar speeds year over year, with just a 4% decrease from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022, while users in Poland saw a large decrease (at least 56% slower), and users in the Netherlands (at least 21%) and Belgium (at least 28%) saw substantial decrease during the same period.
In Oceania, Starlink year-over-year results were mixed, with Starlink’s download speed in Australia 24% slower in Q4 2022 than during Q4 2021, while in New Zealand it was 4% faster in Q4 2022 than Q4 2021.
Starlink in Denmark and Switzerland had the fastest satellite internet in Europe during Q4 2022
Speedtest Intelligence® reveals there was no fastest satellite provider in Europe during Q4 2022, though Starlink in Denmark (147.52 Mbps) and Switzerland (136.03 Mbps) led the pack for fastest median download speed. In all, Starlink download speeds were faster than 100 Mbps in 10 out of 15 European countries during Q4 2022 — a rise from just five out 15 in Q3 2022.
Starlink outperformed fixed broadband providers over download speed in eight countries, including: Austria (105.67 Mbps), Belgium (104.84 Mbps), Croatia (102.99 Mbps), Czechia (64.67 Mbps), Germany (94.37 Mbps), Ireland (103.39 Mbps), Italy (101.06 Mbps), and the U.K. (96.79 Mbps). Fixed broadband providers were faster than satellite providers analyzed in Denmark, France, Netherlands, and Poland. Results were too close to call in Sweden with fixed providers at 106.73 Mbps and Starlink at 101.83 Mbps, as well as Portugal with Starlink at 108.02 Mbps and fixed broadband at 117.97 Mbps. Skylogic was too close to call between the median fixed broadband speed in Italy at 55.50 Mbps to 59.40 Mbps, and had download speeds faster than 40 Mbps in France (44.46 Mbps) and Sweden (48.09 Mbps).
For upload speeds, every country’s combined fixed broadband providers had faster median upload speeds than every satellite provider, though Starlink in Portugal had the fastest upload speed among satellite providers at 20.86 Mbps. All Starlink upload speeds ranged between 10-20 Mbps except Poland (9.79 Mbps) and Denmark (8.04 Mbps).
Multi-server latency for all satellite providers was higher than fixed broadband providers in every European country in Q4 2022, which ranged from 12.34 ms in Sweden to 23.46 ms in Italy. However, Starlink had a median multiserver latencies of less than 60 ms in the U.K. (53.24 ms), Portugal (56.81 ms), and the Netherlands (58.85 ms). Most latencies were between 60-75 ms, with Poland having the highest latency at 86.46 ms — still low enough to have a good quality of experience and be able to video chat.
Starlink in New Zealand was the fastest satellite provider in Oceania
During Q4 2022, Starlink in New Zealand had the fastest median download speed among satellite providers in Oceania at 124.72 Mbps, followed by Starlink in Australia (106.43 Mbps), and Starlink in Tonga (35.15 Mbps). However, New Zealand fixed broadband outperformed Starlink, while Starlink in Australia outperformed fixed broadband providers. In Tonga, speeds were too close to call.
Speedtest Intelligence shows Starlink falling behind fixed broadband providers for median upload speeds in New Zealand (16.89 Mbps) and Australia (11.38 Mbps), while Tonga was again too close to call.
Multi-server latency was higher over Starlink than fixed broadband in all three countries we surveyed in Oceania during Q4 2022. However, Starlink’s median latency was under 50 ms in New Zealand (48.11 ms), which is a very exciting development for consumers, especially with latency becoming an increasingly important metric. Starlink latency in Australia was higher at 65.52 ms, while Tonga followed at 88.81 ms.
New Q4 2022 Starlink countries show very promising results
Speedtest Intelligence shows the six new countries where we found new Starlink data are off to a roaring start in Q4 2022, which include Bulgaria, Finland, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, and Malta. Starlink had faster median download speeds than the country’s respective fixed broadband providers combined in two countries: Bulgaria (110.76 Mbps versus 65.69 Mbps), and Jamaica (87.43 Mbps vs. 48.34 Mbps), while results were too close to call in the remaining four markets. However, Starlink showed promising 100+ Mbps speeds in Japan (156.94 Mbps), Finland (102.70 Mbps), and Malta (101.36 Mbps).
Median upload speeds for Starlink lagged behind fixed broadband providers in all markets, though Malta was too close to call (20.40 Mbps for Starlink and 20.25 Mbps for fixed broadband). Starlink upload speeds ranged from about 14 Mbps to 20 Mbps in every market.
Consumers and enterprises stand to benefit from satellite developments in 2023
Starlink dominated headlines in 2022 — and for good reason. They’ve gained over 1 million users worldwide, will be available in connected vehicles, planes, RVs, and ships, partnered with T-Mobile to bring Starlink to mobile devices, and launched their second-gen satellites at the end of 2022. But that could very seriously change in 2023 with multiple competitors deploying major offensives in the satellite market. We’ll say it again: there is a new space race for connectivity being waged, and we’re just at the tip of what’s to come.
Here are some major updates about what’s next for various different satellite competitors:
Amazon’s Project Kuiper approved by the FCC
The biggest news concerning satellite connectivity is the FCC approving Amazon’s Project Kuiper constellation, which will include 3,236 satellites in an LEO array. On two fronts, this poses two potential challenges for Starlink: on one hand, Amazon has the global reach, scale, and consumer base that being one of the largest companies in the world provides. On the other, Blue Origin is a direct competitor of SpaceX, and won’t have to rely on the service or other vendors to launch their array into space. Amazon is in a good position to compete and Project Kuiper could become a major player if their prototypes, which will be launched in early 2023, reach speeds anywhere close to competing with broadband internet.
Viasat set to launch Viasat-3 arrays around April 8, 2023
Long-term incumbent satellite internet provider, Viasat, has a big year ahead after years of planning and providing connectivity to remote locations around the world. Viasat is finally set to launch its Viasat-3 array, which aims to provide 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) of network capacity on each satellite, allowing its users to experience 100+ Mbps connections; that’s a huge improvement for the mainly GEO provider. While consumers likely won’t see these results until Q4 2023, we’re very excited to see how Viasat improves its network.
Eutelsat’s merger with OneWeb approved by Eutelsat board, second-gen array being planned
One of the biggest mergers in recent years among satellite providers has jumped a major hurdle and was approved by the Eutelsat board. While the combined entities still have to be approved by shareholders and regulators, this merger could expand both companies’ market share, particularly in India, which has fast become an important satellite market. Furthermore, OneWeb is already planning a second-gen satellite, which they’re aiming to launch in 2025.
European Commission forges ahead on Constellation Iris
The European Union has been working to create its own satellite constellation since 2020, and during November 2022, agreed to a plan to commit €2.4 billion for a third satellite array named Iris, in addition to Galileo and Copernicus. The project, which includes GEO, MEO, and LEO arrays, will help support EU connectivity priorities including the economy, environment, security, and defense, and is hoping to launch in 2024, and be fully operational by 2027.
HughesNet aiming to launch Jupiter 3 array in H1 2023
Incumbent satellite internet provider HughesNet is planning to launch its new Jupiter 3 array in the first half of 2023, which will help expand its network capacity, “doubling the size of the Hughes JUPITER fleet over North and South America.” While the Jupiter 3 array will still be a GEO constellation, the added network capacity will alleviate congested networks and give consumers more bandwidth to use the internet.
Ookla will continue monitoring new satellite internet developments
As 2023 continues to shape up as a pivotal year for satellite internet providers, we’ll be watching the sky to make sure providers are providing the connectivity consumers need. We’ll continue our series next quarter with Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 data from North and South America and any new countries where Starlink launches, and be back with Europe and Oceania data in Q3 2023. In the meantime, be sure to download the Speedtest® app for Windows and Mac computers or for iOS or Android for devices and see how your satellite internet stacks up to our findings.
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