Elon Musk’s Starlink internet got your attention? Get similar satellite options in Australia
Starlink satellite broadband, owned and operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, provides wireless internet access to households in rural and remote areas who can’t be serviced by traditional wired connections.
While the company has touched down in Australia, their reach is currently limited to a beta stage product that only a small area can access. But a number of alternatives exist for those that are interested.
With more than one hundred thousand users worldwide, including hundreds in Australia, Starlink has proven itself to be a popular option for those who can’t access traditional wired broadband connections.
What is Starlink exactly?
It’s referred to as low latency broadband internet. Elon Musk has claimed that the service will see download speeds of 300mbps and a latency of 20ms at some point later this year. A US study found users are currently seeing speeds between 40-93mbps. Still, quite impressive for satellite broadband, though far from the speeds Starlink hopes to reach.
Starlink only offers one plan at this stage, with a cost of $139p/m getting you unlimited data across the network. Users do however need to fork out around $709 to cover the hardware fees when they sign up.
Remember, access to Starlink is still extremely limited in Australia, mostly connecting to areas of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria at this point in time.
If you’re interested in Starlink and can’t yet access the network, or want to view some other satellite broadband options, we’ve got you covered. We’ve collected some wireless broadband alternatives below, and broken down what they offer customers.
Nbn Sky Muster Satellite broadband
The national broadband network of Australia is owned and operated by NBN Co, a corporation of the government. While their current focus is primarily on upgrading their wired connections, they do have a fully operational satellite nbn service.
The Sky Muster satellite service allows homes and businesses in rural and remote areas to access the nbn network. With two satellites transmitting the signal back to the ground, the Sky Muster nbn service can reach customers all across mainland Australia and Tasmania, as well as surrounding locations including the Norfolk and Lord Howe islands.
Similar to a wired nbn service, signing up to Sky Muster requires getting in touch with an internet retailer who offers a plan suitable for your needs. A roof satellite dish will be installed on your property, and an nbn-supplied modem will connect to the point the cabling enters your home.
Pricing ranges from as little as $30 up into the hundreds, so finding the right plan for you is an important first step. We’ve collected some popular nbn satellite plans below for you to check out before we move on to some fixed wireless options.
Nbn fixed wireless broadband
We’re trading out satellites for antennas as we move to fixed wireless, which makes use of radio signals to connect a premise to the nbn network.
Again, targeted towards rural and remote areas, a fixed wireless connection does require you to be within 14 kilometres of a transmission tower that nbn has a presence at. If you’re not sure if that covers you, you will have to get in touch with your chosen internet provider and see if you’re eligible.
Nbn fixed wireless offers faster maximum speeds than the Sky Muster satellite service, topping out at around 50mbps against the 25mbps of the latter. However, the requirement to be within range of a transmission tower may make it less accessible for those in truly remote areas.
If you’re interested in an nbn fixed wireless service, you’ll again need to get in touch with your chosen broadband retailer to sign up to a plan that meets your needs. You will need an nbn outdoor antenna installed on the roof of your property, as well as an nbn connection box installed at the point where the cabling enters your home.
There seems to be less variety in pricing when it comes to nbn fixed wireless, with a standard cost sitting between $50-$80. We’ve collected some popular plans below for you to check out before we look at our last alternative below.
Mobile broadband and home wireless
If you’re not interested in any of the options from NBN Co and your home receives a mobile signal, mobile broadband or home wireless may be able to meet your needs. If your home does not receive a stable mobile internet signal, you may want to stay clear of this type of technology.
Using the signal from a telecommunications tower, a mobile broadband or home wireless plan transmits the 3G, 4G or 5G signal into your devices. This can be done in a number of ways, such as:
- Via a modem
- A Wi-Fi dongle
- A USB dongle
Find an option that best suits your needs, as well as a plan that offers the data you’re likely to consume, and these connections are quite simple to get up and running. Once your plan is set up and your technology has arrived, you’ll be ready to connect.
Due to the availability of different technologies, a great variety of data limits as well as differing contract terms, there is a range of different pricing options available for mobile broadband and home wireless connections.
Cheaper options can cost just $10 for small data limits, where unlimited plans can cost into the $80 or $90 range per month. We’ve collected some popular options below, but remember to find the technology type that suits your needs.
Looking for a new internet plan in your area? Head over to our broadband hub to find and compare providers in your area, or check out some popular fixed broadband plans below.