Rural broadband in Ireland is catmalogen. I would say people working from home has shown how bad it is, but the truth is we all knew. The difference now is that the Government is scrambling to quicken up the National Broadband Plan roll out to meet the demands of a decentralised workforce. Unfortunately for them, Elon Musk has other plans and the include Ireland. Starlink is the brainchild of Musk, founded under the umbrella of SpaceX, which seeks to offer high-quality internet to people around the globe. And it’s coming to Ireland.
What Is Starlink?
Starlink, simply put, is an internet service provider (ISP). For consumers, they are little more than another player in the market to take on the likes of Eir or Virgin Media. Of course, given Musk is involved, there’s more to it than that.
Starlink was founded in 2015 and is another example of how Elon Musk tends to see solutions and not care how wild they might seem. Traditional ISPs depend on copper or fiber connections to get you online. Starlink is building its own network of satellites to provide internet to people around the globe.
By it’s very nature, Starlink is a global offering and that means it’s coming to Ireland too.
Is Starlink Available In Ireland?
Starlink is indeed now available to order for Irish customers. I’ve tested the Kilkenny/Carlow area on the Starlink website and it’s confirmed a launch of the service in mid to late 2021. The rest of the country may be slightly different. You can sign up for Starlink today. It requires a €99 deposit, which is refundable prior to SpaceX shipping the hardware to you. The deposit confirms your position in the Starlink global queue.
Musk believes that Starlink will be available to most of the world by the end of 2021.
How Fast Will Starlink Internet Be?
It’s expected that Starlink internet speeds will match or exceed typical fiber speeds. Starlink Beta users were told they could expect speeds between 50Mbps and 150Mbps. Musk confirmed that the expectation is to double that speed to 300Mbps.
Is Starlink Free Or How Much Does Starlink Cost?
Starlink is not free. Actually, it’s one of the most expensive internet providers by Irish standards. To start the process of getting Starlink internet access, you’ll need to pay a €99 deposit. The hardware, which is usually free with Irish internet providers, will set you back €499 and to get it shipped costs €61. To top it all off, your monthly service will set you back €99 per month.
Your first year with Starlink will set you back €1847 and your second year for service alone will cost €1188.
I don’t want to underestimate how ambitious all fo this is from Musk and those prices, believe it or not, are quite reasonable. As someone who is often living with rural broadband, I’d pay that for a decent internet connection. The project faces plenty of challenges which is one reason Starlink requires a deposit. This is the same approach Musk took with Tesla. Which flags one word of warning. Tesla deliveries were vastly later than initially promised.
In terms of price, however, Musk did confirm that should things work out as planned and if they “don’t fail”, consumers can expect the cost “will improve every year”.
How Long Is The Contract With Starlink?
There is no duration for the agreement. So, there’s no 24-month contract or anything like that. The terms and conditions state that “you may cancel the Agreement and Services at any time”.
How Does Starlink Compare To Irish Providers?
It’s impossible to tell how the internet provider compares in terms of quality beyond the hope that new technology is better than what we’re using already. If you live in a built up area and already have access to something like Virgin Media, you’re probably better off with that. Starlink is really for those who have been neglected by ISPs in terms of internet speeds.
Starlink is notably more expensive, you own the hardware and are not locked into a contract duration. These are some of the big trends being bucked.
How Big Is The Starlink Hardware?
The Starlink hardware is about the size of a large pizza.
We’ll be monitoring the top questions on Starlink and updating this article with answers too. Hit us up on Twitter with your own questions and hit the bell in the bottom left corner to get updates.