Starlink satellite internet is flaunted as the new king of internet connectivity. This may not be farfetched considering that several reviews from users of Starlink report good service, even beyond their expectations. But opinions differ; some think that Starlink's satellite internet is beginning to degrade. Most of them have seen their internet speed go lower than what Elon Musk and his company promised.
The price is another major factor affecting Starlink. Especially for those in third-world countries, affording Starlink can mean as much as saving up for as long as 12 months. Even for US citizens, the price tag on Starlink is staggering. Is Starlink satellite internet becoming a luxury internet? Is it deviating from its promise of being a savior for the internet in rural areas? Let's take a deep dive into this topic.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite internet company that uses low-orbiting satellites to connect people worldwide. Elon Musk is the founder of this company, and it even boasts of providing internet in deserts and other harsh environments. With an average speed of 100 - 250 Mbps, it could be a positive switch for folks that work from home or those that live in rural communities.
Starlink's central selling point is its fast internet speeds. It claims it can provide internet faster than most similar companies are recording. Starlink's fast internet comes from its low-orbiting satellites. When the satellites are in low orbit, it makes the internet speed faster.
The company's founder, Elon Musk, has already promised to provide Internet connectivity for 3.8 billion people globally.
It is expanding steadily around the world, including in African countries. At the end of January 2023, Starlink announced it would launch its services to Nigeria. "Starlink is now available in Nigeria – the first African country to receive service!" they tweeted.
Starlink looks like a game changer for internet connectivity, but many feel it's not meeting its original promises. Many have complained about the internet speed dropping and the cost of buying and setting up the internet device.
Can I Afford a Starlink?
Affording a Starlink device depends on many things, including your location and the amount of money you earn at the end of the month. Your income is the primary determinant of whether you can afford Starlink.
Looking at the location, the long-term goal of Starlink is to provide internet for people worldwide. But they are yet to achieve that goal, although they are working steadily towards it. Right now, some places still do not have access to Starlink devices. There's also another effect of location on your ability to afford Starlink devices.
There are some third-world countries whose minimum wages are less than $60. So living in a country like this would take not less than ten months of saving one's salary to afford Starlink. However, if you are living in America, Asia, and most European countries, you have more chances of affording Starlink.
Starlink's affordability may depend on a person's monthly earnings. Monthly Starlink subscriptions used to cost about $90 but have skyrocketed to $120 per month. While this bill may be easier for folks in the US and European countries to offset, it may not be easy for their third-world counterparts. Nonetheless, a Starlink subscription may not be too high depending on your region, as the company leverages purchasing power disparity to set prices.
The affordability of Starlink also depends on the number of people that want to use it in a particular area. If you are the only one interested in using Starlink in a neighborhood, you must pay all the fees to buy and subscribe to the service. Paying for a Starlink and its subscription fees comes with massive responsibility if you are the only one paying it.
But assuming many people in a rural area or a neighborhood are interested in buying Starlink, they can easily buy one and install it in a central part of the neighborhood or rural area. In a standard setting, Starlink can connect up to 200 devices simultaneously. So more people coming to contribute and buy one Starlink for the neighborhood reduces the fees one has to pay for a device. All these factors can make Starlink affordable to you or a luxury internet connection.