Starlink and Comcast are two of the most well-known internet providers in the game, but different business models. Little connects these two companies besides the fact that they provide internet! Today, we will be learning a little about them, as well as which one is right for you. By the end, you can make an informed decision on Starlink vs Comcast, and pick the right internet provider.
Let’s get started!
Starlink vs Comcast: Side by Side Comparison
|Date Founded||Founded in 2015||Founded in 1963|
|Primary purpose||Provide satellite internet services to people in rural areas.||Provide traditional internet services to people all over the country.|
|Data delivery methods||Extremely low-orbit satellites.||Coaxial and fiber optic cables.|
|Special equipment needed||Extensive set-up kit, including a satellite receiver and router base.||Standard wifi equipment, including a router and a modem.|
|Standard pricing||$110 a month with a one-time equipment fee of $599.||$19.99 to $79.99 a month, depending on the package.|
Starlink vs Comcast: Key Differences
Starlink offers satellite internet to people and communities in extremely rural areas who lack access to the preexisting infrastructure that most urbanized areas have. Comcast, on the other hand, is the largest multinational telecommunications conglomerate in the United States, second in revenue only to AT&T. Using familiar technology like coaxial cables and fiber optic cables, Comcast provides internet to over 31 million people.
The biggest difference between the two companies is their mode of data delivery. Starlink is novel in this regard and is one of the most innovative satellite internet providers around. As of September 2022, the company has launched over 3,000 satellites into space to provide expansive coverage in multiple regions. While other satellite internet companies exist, the type of satellite that Starlink uses is what makes it special. Whereas other satellite internet providers have a few massive high-orbiting, Starlink has thousand of really close small ones. The result is significantly more stable internet speeds 5-10 times higher than other providers.
Comcast and Xfinity use more traditional internet delivery methods. The older and previously most common internet delivery method was through a coaxial cable. Using a coaxial cable, internet providers send the data under the house (usually from the street) and into a modem. A newer technology, known as fiber optic cables, is also in use. Fiberoptic cables are routed similarly to coaxial cables but are significantly more stable and substantially faster than traditional internet data delivery methods.
Speed and reliability
Starlink is by far the fastest satellite internet provider in the world. Depending on the day (and the exact position and traffic of the satellite), Starlink can reach speeds between 150-200 Mbps. For reference, traditional satellite internet companies can only promise between 5-20 Mbps at their best. Additionally, the low-orbiting nature of the satellites allows for lower latency, meaning that internet usage isn’t just faster but more responsive and reliable. Gaming, streaming, and more are all possible using Starlink.
Since there is hard-wiring and existing infrastructure, traditional internet, especially fiber optic cables, is usually faster and more reliable. Generally speaking, fiber optic internet is the fastest and most reliable internet that most consumers have access to. Comcast offers various speed packages, with the lowest around 50 Mbps and the highest around 1000 Mbps.
As Starlink is a satellite-based internet company, you will need to set up some hardware first. Starlink offers their “Starlink Kit” for $599. Within this kit are a satellite, a base unit (essentially a modem), 75 feet of cable, and an indoor wifi router.
A traditional wifi setup usually requires a router and modem. In instances where a fiber optic line hasn’t been installed yet but is available, the option to dig one to the house is usually less than $100. Many homes already have a router and modem, with internet companies providing one if you don’t already have one when purchasing the service.
Starlink is quite competitive compared to other satellite internet providers. Additionally, they only offer a single “package,” plus an equipment fee. The monthly fee for Starlink is listed as $110 a month, while the one-time equipment fee is listed at $599.
Comcast, along with almost every other internet company, offers a tiered system of internet packages. The more expensive plans offer faster internet, while cheaper packages offer slower internet. The exact prices will vary drastically depending on location. Most Comcast/Xfinity packages start at around $19.99 and top out at around $79.99 for their Gigabit internet, which is their fastest.
Starlink vs Comcast: 12 Must-know facts
- Starlink uses a network of low-orbit satellites to provide internet to rural places
- It’s not available everywhere but is expanding with each new satellite launch
- Offers a single-tiered service for $110 a month
- It has a high, one-time equipment fee to receive the satellite and special modem/router combo
- Works in the most rural regions of the country
- Starlink doesn’t require any nearby infrastructure, although signal quality can be impacted by weather and natural features (rocks and trees)
- Comcast offers traditional internet services to most towns and cities around the country
- The company uses coaxial and fiber optic cables to provide internet
- Comcast doesn’t have a large equipment fee since there isn’t a satellite setup
- Their packages are tiered packages and vary in price depending on the region
- Comcast wired internet is stable, reliable, and cheaper than satellite internet
- Comcast internet can be bundled with other services, like phone and TV
Starlink vs Comcast: Which One is Best for You?
Two of the largest internet providers, Starlink and Comcast (specifically their internet subsidiary, Xfinity) have a strong presence in the United States. Although these companies both provide internet access to people, the methodology and technology in which they go about it are extremely different. Additionally, the demographic that each company is marketed toward is quite different.
Go with Starlink if…
You don’t have internet service providers near you and can’t get internet, Starlink is for you. They are faster, more reliable, and cheaper than many other satellite internet providers and continue to improve their coverage each year. You should also go with Starlink if you plan on traveling with your RV long-term, as they offer an RV package that is quite appealing to those living on the road.
Choose Comcast/Xfinity if…
You live in a town or community that already has internet providers. Sattelite internet isn’t ideal for people with access to traditional internet services because of its higher speeds, lower latency, and reduced cost. Almost any populated region in the United States already has internet providers in the area. If your providers don’t offer speeds over 50 Mbps, however, Starlink may be an option for you.