Whenever we post an ad on Facebook for our ISPSAT/Hughes Satellite Internet Solutions or mention our solution in a post or reply online, we tend to get pounced on, usually by the Elon Musk worshippers, many of which don’t even have Starlink and/or actually know very little about it and just assume it’s already amazing! They typically hit us with all kinds of comments and questions:
- One word: Starlink
- Starlink is going to smash you!
- Why would anyone use your ISPSAT/Hughes solution over Starlink?
- Who would settle for those speeds when Starlink is much faster?
And then there are the ones who simply don’t understand that our satellite internet access solutions are not and were never even designed or intended to even compete with Cable Internet, good quality DSL, or other terrestrial solutions that are available out there! Satellite internet solutions like DirecWay, Exede, HughesNet, Viasat, etc. were NEVER designed or intended to compete in that market! Instead, they were intended for rural and remote areas where there was no solution or no better solution available!
I decided to write this post to enlighten some people and maybe explain who our customers are, who can benefit from our ISPSAT/Hughes services, and why!
First, I mentioned not even trying to compete with terrestrial solutions? Well, believe it or not, we are! Ever since Hughes Gen5 came out offering speeds of 25Mbps x 3Mbps, we actually HAVE BEEN competing in those markets since DSL and other terrestrial services in many areas are no longer as fast or as reliable as our solutions! For instance, in many areas, some people can only get 2Mbps or 5Mbps via DSL or other terrestrial solutions. In many areas, DSL and other solutions are not reliable, or are over-crowded! We actually had several areas where DSL companies like CenturyLink actually cut off a bunch of their customers who had simply suspended their service over the winter months! When they came back to Montana in the spring, they were told by CenturyLink that their network was overcrowded and that they would not be able to re-connect them! Needless to say, those were busy areas for us for a while!
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite internet platform launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2020/2021 involving thousands of satellites they are launching to low-Earth orbit to provide internet access to rural and remote areas of the World! Check out all of the satellites here! It’s a great idea since the satellites moving overhead can provide a mesh network of connectivity and since they are closer to Earth than the current HughesNet, Viasat, and other satellite internet service providers that have been around for years! The internet access solution promises internet access to the World once all of the satellites are launched and activated! Equipment is around $550 and service is at $100 per month! Speeds are averaging around 100 – 200Mbps down by around 60 – 80Mbps up currently in some beta testing areas as of the date of this post! But, it’s not going to be the best solution for everyone, at least not for a few years anyway!
While our ISPSAT/Hughes Satellite Internet systems receive service from 2 different satellites in the southern sky, the Starlink satellites are still few and far between and passing overhead. With our ISPSAT/Hughes systems, once we see the satellite in the southern sky and get the system locked, it doesn’t move, so once installed properly there is no reason for you to lose signal unless of course something hits the antenna or moves it somehow! With Starlink, the satellites are passing overhead and if there is a tall building, tree or mountain between the satellite and you, you will lose service for a minute or maybe even several minutes until it gets in the clear and reconnects! The problem we have today with Starlink is that it’s in beta and there aren’t enough satellites up and running to create a mesh network that covers every area of the World continuously! Some day, it will happen, I’m sure, but what do you do until then? Some people won’t care! If they are only checking email and Facebooking or whatever, losing service for a few minutes here and there, probably won’t be a problem, but for anyone working from home or using the service for Zoom, or MS Teams, or streaming audio or video or security monitoring or anything like that, it could become a serious problem! And yes, some areas are more reliable than others right now since Elon and the team have areas that they have focused coverage on for beta testing! We estimate it will be a couple of years before everything is meshed together and providing better, more reliable coverage, but even then there will always be a risk over line-of-site issues with Starlink!
Although as of the date of this post, Starlink has applied to the FCC for portable and mobile in-motion applications, it has not been approved yet, and currently all Starlink accounts and contract state clearly that the system cannot be used or moved to any location other than the street address that the system was shipped to! How would they know right? Wouldn’t it work anyway? No! We’ve had a Starlink system that we’ve been testing for several months now and you cannot move the system very far from your current location and get service! That will certainly change once the FCC gives them the approval, but until then, our ISPSAT/Hughes Satellite Internet Systems and Services are one of the only solutions that can be self-installed, moved around, and used in rural and remote areas where cellular services and other options are not available!
Starlink has set its monthly service pricing at $100 per month! Speeds could get better and better over time, but for this example, we’re going to assume they are 200Mbps down x 50Mpbs up which is currently much more than what most are seeing in Starlink beta testing areas as of the date of this post! Our ISPSAT/Hughes Satellite Internet solutions are currently at 25Mbps x 3Mbps and as of the date of this post, most customers on our platform are seeing an average of 28Mbps down x 2.2Mbps up. Hughes is launching a new satellite at the end of this year (2021) that should offer 100Mbps x 5 – 10 Mbps speeds to its existing customers, and we’re thinking all it will take to get that is a simple repoint to the new satellite. Hughes offers Consumer service plans from $60 per month + tax! Many people are not even going to notice the difference between 25Mbps and 200Mbps, but many people are not going to be excited about spending $40 more per month for Internet access if they can do everything they want or need to do for less! The truth is that for MOST customers, Internet access speeds are like megapixels with a camera! Most people never benefit from more than 10 – 20 megapixels, but if they see an 80-megapixel camera, they instantly assume it’s better when it’s really not, unless or course you’re looking to print out some garage door-sized photos or something anyway! For most people, they can do everything they want and need to do on a 10Mbps connection so for them, why would they pay $100 a month instead of $60 or even $90 to have something they can self-maintain and even move around if and when necessary?
Static IP’s, Security, etc.
Many of our ISPSAT/Hughes Satellite Internet customers require a static IP for their work from home, home schooling, security, or other network applications! As of the time of this post, Starlink does not offer Static IP’s or any optional network features and capabilities outside of their standard offerings!
Anyone who’s ordered the Starlink system for beta testing knows that there is currently little to no support available from Starlink to assist you! At the time of this post, people have been waiting 3 months to get their systems and even longer to get pole mount adapters, volcano mounts, and other accessories used for installation! In fact, our sister company, Montana Satellite Supply offers satellite installation tools, supplies, and accessories found or created and has been shipping installation supplies such as Eave Mounts, Tripods, Roof Mounts, Pole adapters, custom mounts and more for use with Starlink installations over the last few months because Starlink customers have been unable to get them from Starlink! Try finding someone to install your Starlink system for you? Starlink could have chosen to use an existing network of professional satellite dealers and installers to better support their customers, but they wanted to keep everything in-house! So, who are you going to call for your Starlink installation if you are unable to do it yourself?
Imagine being able to order your equipment and have it arrive, set it up, and be online within 4 – 5 business days of your order? That is an option with us, sometimes even sooner! Imagine being able to send a text to us to suspend your service or for support? That is an option with us! Imagine making a phone call and having a live person answer your call that is able to assist you with your order or with any of your billing, service, installation, and support needs? If you are in our local service areas, we can usually be to you within a day or two at the most to get you back up and running in the event of issues, etc. but we’re usually able to walk our customers through getting themselves back online quickly and easily! On our platform, we can do that, and you don’t even need to deal with Hughes, you just call or text or email us for assistance! Evenings, weekends, holidays? Not a problem! Although we don’t actually offer 24/7 support, we do return calls as quickly as we can regardless of the date or time, simply because we know how frustrating it can be to be offline and we prefer happy customers!
We love Starlink!
It’s easy to assume that we hate Starlink or that we are afraid of them putting us out of business or worried about them affecting our business! And so far they have affected our business, by only increasing our sales! Many people hear about Starlink, try it, find that it’s unreliable, at least for now, and then look for an alternative solution like us! Our sales have only improved so far and needless to say, our sister company is fulfilling orders for installation supplies and accessories for use with Starlink every day and that’s been great for us as well! HughesNet, Viasat, and other satellite internet companies will definitely lose a lot of customers to Starlink, but that only makes those networks less congested and more likely able to provide even better speeds and performance for the same or maybe even less money than what they offer now! I’m looking forward to the day that I can toss my Starlink dish into my rig and head to a remote mountain lake for a week instead of having to haul a 39″ Hughes antenna and mount around with me. I’m also VERY excited about the possibility of having in-motion internet access everywhere with our service truck and/or RV on the road! How awesome will that be? But here at my home I’m not getting rid of my 60Mbps cable internet anytime soon and those 2 trees next to my house make Starlink far too unreliable for me!
Starlink will be awesome for MANY people, but it’s not going to be ideal for everyone or for every application, and if you’re looking for a reliable solution today, and especially something that you can move around and take with you on the road in your RV, you’re likely not going to find it with Starlink… not yet anyway!
Are you ready for a reliable solution today?