Venus and Starlink Satellites. Photo / Mike Lewinski / Creative Commons

Starlink slashes satellite internet hardware price from $1000 to under $200

Great Barrier Island, New Zealand – Starlink, the satellite internet company founded by Elon Musk, has announced a major price reduction for its hardware in rural areas across New Zealand, including Great Barrier Island. The company has cut the price of its hardware from $1000 to just $200.

Starlink’s satellite internet technology, which uses a constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites, promises to deliver high-speed internet to even the most remote locations, with New Zealand a major launch market for the product, given our rugged terrain, and low population density that has put off investment by established players like Spark and Vodafone (now One NZ).

Residents of Aotea have reported download speeds of up to 200 megabits per second and upload speeds of around 10 megabits per second. This is a significant improvement over the DSL and cell networks, which can be slow for data, especially during peak season (sub-200 kilobits) and don’t reach many parts of the motu.

The downside

The monthly subscription fee of $170 is relatively expensive in comparison to DSL or mobile Internet and the “dishy” device, as it’s called, uses around 70 watts of power. Starlink has released a new software update to somewhat mitigate this by allowing users to schedule the device to turn off (typically overnight), reducing power consumption.

It’s also no secret Starlink constellations have destroyed stargazing for many astronomers (including some on our motu), although the company says it’s planning yet another 8,000 more satellite launches (over twice its current number of roughly 3,580), so the answer might be, if you can’t beat ’em, join em.

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Starlink has no data cap, but heavy users over around 200 gigabytes per month have seen speed throttling.

Gabrielle and Okiwi

Starlink was instrumental getting those in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne back up and running following the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, and the Kura at Okiwi has recently had a pilot programme testing Starlink, which the Ministry of Education says has been helpful in enhancing students’ learning.

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

Get it now, or pay through the nose.

You can order Starlink online and install the dish yourself, although given our extreme winds, it’ll pay to buy a mounting bracket, or get an installer to mount it for you. It might be handy to know if you don’t need your Sky TV satellite (which you probably won’t with Starlink, because you can stream Sky OnDemand), the Starlink dish sits soundly inside your old Sky bracket.

Starlink hasn’t said how long the promotional discount from $1000, to $200 will continue. Last year they cut the $1000 unit cost to $500, only to raise it to $750 weeks later, with no warning.

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)
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