From Painfully Slow to Lightning Fast: SpaceX’s Starlink Makes Rural Internet Usable

(Credit: Nickolas Friedrich)

Nickolas Friedrich lives in central Montana, where his local broadband connectivity hasn’t been good.

Every month, he pays about $120 for a measly 0.8Mbps download speed from the only DSL provider in town. And his connection can freeze up when too many neighbors are on the service at once. 

As a result, streaming videos isn’t really possible. Instead, it can take an hour to download a low-quality 240p video from YouTube. The situation is so bad that Friedrich used to go to the local library to download internet videos to his laptop so he could watch them later. 

But recently, he’s been able to enjoy Netflix and YouTube at home, where the internet speeds can now shoot up as high as 170Mbps. The reason? Starlink, the next-generation satellite internet service from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which Friedrich has been helping test out.  

“It has been a lot faster

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