Starlink Effect


I am curious to see the Starlink effect on small WISPs and Geo-Sat Companies once they start servicing the northern states and Canada predicting next summer. I can see some pros to this as they can sell bandwidth to more remote areas for tower deployments for wisps and cell phone companies but I can also see this as a con if they provide internet service directly to the consumer and it actually works well as Elon says it's going to.  Low latency high bandwidth etc.. I know pricing and packages will be the consumer's ultimate decision. But consumers who currently only have access to Geo-Sat Tech will switch instantly I know I would.

curious to see other WISPs thoughts on this.

i dont think they will be ready next summer ... 6 of starlinks sat have already failed ...

also i think installations cost will make a lot of ppl fear this ...

and A LOT of people are afraid of new technologies and will refer to something similar (goe sat) since its sat tech and some might not be able to differ both service's advantages so yes it will take a lot of market but not a all in a year for sure ...

also if its worlwide ... how will they manage thousands of installs in remote area ? they could take 3rd party company but that will play on installation cost ...

but only time will tell us

There is substantial opposition to starlink from the astronomy community. Not only thousands of professional astronomers, astrophysicists, and planetary scientists… but also from the amateur and casual astronomers, right down to the backyard skygazer who’s simply enjoys looking up.

There is a movement to stop starlink, although Elon Musk is a billionaire who doesn’t really care what people think… but the #StopStarlink folks are trying to get legal challenges or injunctions to try to stop the wanton pollution of the night sky. They may be the allies of the WISPs in this

It takes a lot of energy to move a happy customer from one network to another. Starlink's service will have to either be really really cheap, or super fast... and quite possibly a combination of the two... to get people to jump ship. On top of that, the installation is going to be more like a WISP install then a satelite installation. I think that there's a chance that the WISP industry could make money if Starlink allows us to resell or at least perform the physical installation of the service to clients. I'd rather sell Starlink service to someone I can't cover and make a little bit of $$ then sully my reputation by selling a traditional satellite internet service like Hughs/Viasat/Wildblue/etc. That's another thing... satellite internet has a bad repuation and it's going to take a lot of PR and marketing $$ to get the ball rolling on this.

I think we could potentially make lemonade from this lemon of a situation.


I am sure Elon doesnt realize that this will never work as well as he thinks it will. But then again, throw enough money at a problem and it will get fixed eventually.

There is an inherant issue with satellite systems and unless someone knows how to bend the laws of physics to escape the speed of propgation for radio signals, the delay even on LEO and Fast-LEO is still orders of magnatude larger than a decently run WISP network. You can offer 5 and 10Gbps links all you want, but if the delay is 250ms or more each way then its better to look at your WISP.

I made Vonage work over Xplornet's old Ku system, but it wasnt pretty or good. People wont tollerate that anymore. Just look at LEO companies like Iridium (defunct) and Globalstar(still doing sat phones and now doing two way GPS locator and remote T1 service).

I am not overly worried about StarLink yet and when asked about it I answer honestly with the comparable information. "We can not access it here yet, but you can access our network now. The current advertised speeds in a coverage zone is XX (we look this up with the client so that it is up to date and acurate) for $YY per month. We can offer you speeds up to AA for $CC per month, with no data cap. We own the hardware so you do not have to worry if it fails (we get lots of ESD in our area) and we are local so you dont have to wait for a tech to come from ZZZ." We try our best not to offer opinions as the facts speak for themselves: it takes time for data to travel and though a satellite can cover a very large area or traverse long distances easier, there is a reason why terrestrial wireless and fiber optics are being installed. Without including network delays, it takes 125ms just to get to Anik F1 if your on the equator directly below it, then make the trip to the earth station. Now return! Flawless hand-off on mobile systems is still a troubling thing, getting better but when is the last time you roamed between cell towers and didnt have a glitch! not do that every 30 seconds as old satellites fly past the horizon and new ones come up.

I personally think this is a fad thing that will leave hundreds of satellites to fail and fall, at least it will be pretty when it happens :) And this is My opinion.


Ok so it’s been a year since this Q/A. What would be your opinion now after they’ve deployed over 1,000 sats? My concern is over the welfare of wisps…

Same as always.

Lobby your regulatory board for more access to spectrum. Anything is possible with more spectrum access. Including the ability to be a fine fast isp. 100Mb/s over 20km distances.

Wisps aren’t dead, bad wisps are, offer the fastest speed you can within budget, pick your equipment that’s most stable, do good tech support.

You’ll be fine, you run a network, explain what makes you a good network to your customer without using speeds and keep moving forward.


I have two main wisp competitors and the biggest move to sign with us is our outstanding tech support.
We also liken the speed differences to a hiway. More speed is more lanes which allow more streams of cars to travel together. The rate at which those cars can travel is fixed to the universal constant. If all cars travel at the same rate then having more lanes will not help you if there is a traffic jam or the exit ramp is full. Some customers just want the best package available regardless but are massively over paying for what they actually use.

The long and short is if your customers are talking about going starlink, then you already lost them until you explain the up front costs to buy the receiver and the plan pricing and the instant latency hit that they can not get around. We have lost a grand total to one client to starlink and they are not totally happy with the cost to performance ratio but they were a fringe client already and we couldnt justify the expense to get another few dollars a month (ROI would have been 72months! And client did not want to spend anything on hardware).

What starlink is going to do as more sats start to fly is cause the background noise to go up. But also think about how much money they are pouring into RF licenses around the world!

This is the biggest thing. As far as I’m aware they are paying nothing or very little for access to spectrum. Unheard of in the rest of the community and I’m not sure why we’re putting up with it.

If spacex gets free / close to free spectrum, then so should the rest of the world.

Does anyone have a number? I’ll contact ISED for that information on the Canadian side, but I’m almost certain it’s $0 here as we have satellite agreements with the USA.

Not just ‘free’ spectrum… then the US Government gave them nearly a BILLION dollars in subsidies as well. You know - if this was Softwood Lumber or Pork or Wheat… the “Free Trade Agreement” would mean that if one side subsidizes it’s businesses – that constitutes a violation of the FTA.

though we have agreements, you still have to apply for and receive the spectrum from each country.

For WISP use though, I am not too worried. Per the FCC approval for the Starlink space stations, “SpaceX proposes to operate in the 10.7-12.7 GHz, 13.85-14.5 GHz, 17.8-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.3 GHz, 27.5-29.1 GHz, and 29.5-30 GHz bands.” And per ISED Starlink STEAM-1 NGSO 10.7 – 12.7 14.0 – 14.5, so as you can see it is out of WISP common frequency usage (because we are cheap AF when it comes to getting spectrum). What this will have an effect on is your paid ptp spectrum, but since you are paying for it it should be clear of interference or you annoy the regulatory body until they give you a channel not used by anyone else. Also keep in mind the Wild Blue/ Xplornet have been providing similar service, albeit with higher average latency, and are more likely to be affected by Starlink frequency/competitive market than we are.

As for the financial side, Starlink is not economically sustainable until it is about 50% usage and then its time to replace the satellites which up the cost. My point of case can be seen with the Iridium and Globalstar networks which are basically dead/dieing.
The US government funded from the broadband initiative program, same as Google and Amazon Fiber, same as which every WISP/SSISP has access to. So not subsidized, but they do get a bigger piece of the pie due to the number of square miles covered and the proposed bandwidth available. Unlike here in Canada where the programs are geared towards the Tier 1 and 2 categories and leave us tier 3 and 4 out in the financial cold.

If you are worried about the proposed 8ms latency spec, dont be. its 3.001ms one way to a satellite and the signal may have to bounce through as many as 15 satellites before returning to earth. So at a lowest calculated possible of one satellite to ground station link (no going to happen often!) with the proposed bandwidth loading, best you could ever achieve is 9ms (8.49ms by my calcs) as there is an inherent delay for the signal to be processed and relayed which gets worse as more connections are relayed. Now add the average internet delay and realistically its no better than having a docsis connection. Even if they add more down stations right on top of every major datacenter, it will not get much better and this is the edge we have. We can get better by limiting the SM to AP ratio. Offer value added services (which most of us do already) and keep our pricing down enough to not loose our shirts but also not high enough to cause clients to look to other options. Statistically clients keep the same provider unless the provider does something to annoy the client to the point of frustration. In WISP terms, lots of disconnects or consistently poor performance for the dollar paid. Bad customer service isnt a factor as many providers that still exist can attest to, but it doesnt hurt to have very good customer service.


Communications services and providers were left out of the FTA, so its not a violation, but I get your point!