Where’s My StarLink Terminal?
Jeff Lee, LittleT Broadband
The SpaceX StarLink program continues to attract press and make progress. SpaceX has continued its aggressive launch schedule to place new satellites in orbit, and each addition to the Low Earth Orbit satellite constellation improves the coverage area and quality of service. There have been many announcements about StarLink mobile service (for RVs), service for airlines, the ability to move your terminal to a new location, and of course the StarLink deployment in Ukraine.
Though StarLink claims the service to be out of beta testing and now deploying commercially, the number of StarLink users remains small, especially in our area. I have received emails from a couple of individuals who have received StarLink terminals in the Otto area, and in general they seem to be happy with the service (especially compared to the alternatives). However, receiving a StarLink terminal right now seems to be a bit like winning the lottery, as there is far more demand than StarLink has been able to fill.
We have personally had an order and deposit for StarLink service on the books for about 15 months now. It is certainly frustrating to continue waiting with no real updates, and when we log into the StarLink website to check the status continues to say "Starlink expects to expand service into your area by late 2022". Friends have asked if we have received our terminal yet, and all I can tell them is “No, I believe ours was sent to Ukraine”. My hope is to get the StarLink service in the near future to provide a higher speed solution than the current 1Mbps DSL service as we wait for fiber to arrive in our area. I know that if we drop our deposit there will be little chance of acquiring access to StarLink for years, effectively taking that option off the table.
From the statistics that I have seen, StarLink had about 250,000 active subscribers as of February. I have also seen a recent statistic of 800,000 orders waiting to be filled. I am hopeful that they will work through the chip shortages and coverage area limitations that are claimed to be holding them back.
For those of us waiting to use this as a connectivity option, for now patience continues to be the only option.