What Starlink Means For Rural Eastern Ontario Businesses

Starlink is steadily improving and expanding high-speed internet access across Eastern Ontario’s rural areas. Do you know what it has to offer your rural Eastern Ontario company?

Starlink, a division of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, gained Canadian approval for its Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) in October 2020.

Since then, the company has been extending its network across the country, slowly offering service to more remote areas. Its beta phase has been offered on a first-come-first-served basis for Canadians since February of this year, with plans to step up availability and quality of service by the end of 2021.

This new ISP presents an exciting prospect for businesses across Canada — especially those that have gotten used to high-cost and low-performance Internet services in rural areas in Eastern Ontario. Do you know if Starlink is right for your business?

What Starlink Offers Rural Ontario Businesses

Farms today are no longer simple, family-owned businesses. Agriculture is big business, and businesses like yours require secure and reliable technologies to ensure productivity, competitiveness, and profitability.

Furthermore, as the small-batch brewery and winery industries continue to expand, more and more businesses are opening up in rural areas. This creates an even greater need for Internet speeds and reliable connectivity in line with urban standards.

Internet connectivity is a key component of your rural operations. Automated machinery,  Artificial intelligence, analytics, connected sensors, and other emerging technologies offer a range of advantages to rural operations, but only if they have a reliable Internet connection.

Reliable and robust internet connectivity in the agriculture, brewing and viticulture sectors would lead to an additional $500 billion in value over the next decade. Starlink presents an enticing opportunity for rural businesses to attain new qualities of connectivity.

How Does Starlink Work?

Starlink technology relies on a network of satellites within the low orbit to bring the signal down to users. At the moment, more than 1,500 satellites exist in the network, but thousands more have to be deployed for the system to be complete on a global scale. Each Falcon 9 that SpaceX launches delivers 60 more satellites to the network.

Unlike competitors’ systems, these satellites aren’t geostationary or geosynchronous. Therefore, the dish should move automatically to realign itself and align with a new satellite.

Starlink stands out because the lower orbit satellites hovering about 342 miles above the ground substantially cut down latency or signal delay. This makes it better than DirecTV satellites located more than 22,000 miles above the earth.

How Fast Is Starlink?

Starlink claims that speeds range from 50Mbps to 150Mbps, with latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations at the moment. Firsthand reports from consumers across Canada differ, however, with low-end reports ranging from 50Mbps – 80Mbps and high-end reports around 150Mbps – 180 Mbps.

However, as more satellites are launched, speeds are expected to improve. Musk recently tweeted that users could expect “~300Mb/s & latency will drop to ~20ms later this year.”

The company continues to deploy ground stations and satellites to address the issues and challenges of users. As the process advances, Starlink internet users will likely experience lower latency and improved download speeds.

What Does Starlink Cost?

Given the remote areas that Starlink reaches (and plans to extend beyond) the price point is generally higher than standard high-speed rates, but well within the expectations for those areas.

The startup cost breaks down as follows:

  • Hardware — $649
  • Shipping — $65
  • Taxes — $92
  • Service —$129/month
  • Total —$806

While this is more than the original estimates offered by Starlink, it’s still less than most Viasat high-end plans. Notably, Starlink does not impose data caps on users at this time, making it much more viable than its competitors in rural Canada.

How Do I Sign Up For Starlink Service?

You can find out if you qualify for service, and sign up, by following these steps:

  • Visit the company’s website.
  • Enter your email and address to get your service area (if it’s still not available, you’ll be notified when the service will arrive).
  • View the estimates for getting the service in your location.
  • Pay the deposit (an upfront amount that will be deducted from the monthly charges), the hardware cost, and shipping.

What’s Next For Starlink?

While Starlink is currently in beta for Canada, there should be a number of developments with the service by the end of 2021. While its first 1,000 satellites were first-generation, the following 500 (and more to come) represent the second-generation design.

Starlink is currently on track to reach 500,000 users by the end of the year and is in the process of seeking regulatory approval to test the network inflight and augment the service with large vehicles. Service is operational in 12 countries, with more on the way as they add additional satellites to the network.

Is Starlink Right For Your Rural Business?

If you work in rural areas in Eastern Ontario, you know how important a strong internet connection is.

No farm, microbrewery or winery operates entirely under one roof. Your operation is a combination of management in a series of offices, warehouses, and more, along with numerous teams and technological assets out in the field.

Supporting your network of locations with the right IT is vital for your productivity and success. The easier it is for your employees to access vital information, whether they’re in the office or in the field, the easier it is for them to do their jobs.

All of that depends on a viable Internet connection, which Starlink is making more available and more cost-effective for Canadians with each day that passes. Be sure to consider Starlink against your current ISP, and keep an eye out for news as the service expands and develops.

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