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Starlink vs Google Fiber: 10 Must-Know Facts

  1. Starlink and Google Fiber are Built on different technologies.
  2. Starlink is a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet provider. That means it doesn’t need to use a satellite for communication with Earth. But it can only offer service as long as weather conditions are stable.
  3. Starlink runs on non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellites. Unlike Starlink, the large majority of satellite internet service providers rely on geostationary orbits (GEO) to communicate with Earth.
  4. Starlink will use a minimal number of satellites to start out, then it will build a mesh network as the demand for the internet grows.
  5. Google Fiber is a physical internet that uses fiber optics to transmit data. It relies on the same infrastructure used by cable TV and phone companies.
  6. Google Fiber is owned by Alphabet Inc., which is a parent company of Google Inc.
  7. Like Starlink, Google Fiber is also a mesh network. The company deploys backbone fiber and then uses other existing fiber networks to distribute its service.
  8. Google Fiber is known for being able to deliver up to 1Gbps internet speeds in select areas across the United States of America.
  9. Google Fiber has a waitlist to sign up.
  10. Google Fiber and Starlink will not provide their service in all parts of the world. The companies only intend to cover cities and towns where they can acquire building permits, poles, and water rights, among other things.

What comes to mind when you think of companies that deliver internet speeds in the gigabits per second range? Most people are probably thinking about Starlink and Google Fiber. One is a satellite internet company, while the latter is an FTTH (Fiber To The Home) company.

Both are blazing fast. In fact, both are probably the fastest if we consider internet speed as a function of capacity and latency.

Starlink is a satellite internet company that is owned by the world’s largest satellite company, SpaceX. The company started its operations in 2016 after it built the world’s largest low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Google Fiber is an FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) internet provider that offers speeds of up to 1GBps in select areas across the United States of America.

The ability of Starlink and Google Fiber to deliver gigabit speeds can be attributed to the fact that both companies use satellites and fiber optics, which are considered to be very fast in terms of data transmission. But which one is best?

The below table compares Starlink and Google Fiber in terms of several categories. The comparison will also highlight how the two companies stand out in the market, especially regarding their unique business models and approach to providing internet service.

StarlinkGoogle Fiber
Download Speed5 Mbps to 50 Mbps for RV,
50 Mbps to 150 Mbps for Residential,
150 Mbps to 500 Mbps for Business
Up to 1 Gbps
Customer SupportNo phone number, only text-basedBoth text-based and phone-based
CoverageWorldwideIn select towns and cities
PortabilityYesNo
Installation ChallengesRequires a sky view that is clearDigging a trench 
Upload Speed10 – 20 MbpsUp to 1 Gbps
Latency40 ms – 50 ms, up to 80 ms15 ms – 20 ms
Subscription Fee (Monthly)RV – $135
Residential – $110
Business – $500
$50 to $200
Installation and Equipment CostResidential – $600
Business – $2500
$500 to $1500
ContractNoYes

Starlink vs Google Fiber: What’s the Difference?

Starlink and Google Fiber have always been compared to each other because they are known to offer the fastest internet speeds worldwide. But they don’t have the same technology, spectrum, or delivery method. Here are the key differences between Starlink and Google Fiber.

Speed

starlink vs google fiber
Starlink aims for global mobile phone service after 2023.

©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Starlink offers internet speeds of up to 500 Mbps data transmission. This is why the company is considered to be the fastest satellite internet provider in the world. It also uses MEO satellites, which let it overcome some of the challenges other satellite internet companies face in terms of providing connectivity to people living in remote areas.

Starlink delivers an upload speed of 10 to 20 Mbps for most of its customers. The latency level of Starlink is about 40 to 50 ms and up to 80 ms in extreme circumstances.

Google Fiber offers internet speeds of up to 1Gbps data transmission. The company also uses FTTH technology, which means the internet is delivered directly to the home or business through fiber optic cables.

The upload speed of Google Fiber is about 1Gbps, and the latency is about 20 ms. The company has expanded its service to many countries, including the United States of America, which gives it a good market penetration.

Reliability

According to some customer reviews, Starlink has a reputation for providing unreliable internet services. Its capabilities have been described as only good when the weather is clear, meaning they don’t work well in poor weather.

This is because Starlink’s satellite constellation is orbiting about 900 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. This means subscribers can experience frequent outages if there’s heavy cloud cover or rain or if any of the satellites fail.

One thing that makes Google Fiber more reliable than Starlink is that it’s an FTTH internet provider. The company was able to deliver consistent internet speeds in its early operations in Kansas City because it has a direct connection to customers.

Its 1Gbps service has been described as very reliable even for users who experience frequent outages with other providers, such as cable companies and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line).

Spectrum

Starlink doesn’t only use satellites to provide internet services to customers; it also uses spectrum. The company operates in the Ka-band frequency, which is significantly lower than the frequencies used by KVH and ViaSat to offer their satellite internet services.

Starlink uses a type of LEO satellite called Microsat. According to some of its customers, Starlink doesn’t seem to use the Ka-band spectrum as much as other satellite internet providers.

Google Fiber uses three frequency bands to deliver its services to customers. One is the lower frequency band, which provides a 5Mbps service. The second is the middle frequency band, which provides a 10Mbps service. Google Fiber also uses a high-frequency band for rural communities because it can provide speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Technical Limitations

starlink router
Starlink (SpaceX) is a satellite communications system.

©rarrarorro/Shutterstock.com

The major technical limitation of Starlink is its insufficient coverage. Despite the fact that there are a great number of satellites in the constellation, they are still unable to cover the entire globe. This means that people living in remote areas or those who don’t have clear views of the sky are not able to subscribe to Starlink.

Another technical limitation of Starlink is its antenna technology which, according to some customers, isn’t very good at receiving signals from orbit. Whereas the main technical limitation of Google Fiber is the fact that it’s an FTTH internet provider.

It does not deliver service to people living in remote areas where there are no direct connections from its backhaul network. This is because the company uses a combination of micro trenching and aerial deployment techniques to install fiber optic lines, which can be expensive for small towns or rural areas.

Availability

starlink vs google fiber
Google Fiber provides fiber-to-the-premises service in the United States.

©sdx15/Shutterstock.com

Despite its reputation as the fastest satellite internet provider in the world, Starlink isn’t available to people living in remote areas. This is a problem because of the company’s reliance on orbital satellites to provide service. Since it uses satellites, Starlink cannot deliver service to areas where there are no clear lines of sight to any of its satellites.

According to some reports, some places can be up to 50 miles away from the nearest antenna that can deliver Starlink services. To help address this issue, Starlink is building a network of ground stations to improve the accuracy of its constellation tracking and expand its coverage area.

In addition to being primarily available in some developed countries, Google Fiber isn’t available in many rural areas. It’s doubtful if they can provide service to those communities because of the small customer base and high cost.

This means it’s taking much longer for Google Fiber to expand its coverage than expected. However, Google Fiber has recently made announcements that it plans to offer 1Gbps service in some rural areas.

Price

Since Starlink is using a unique constellation of satellites to deliver its services, customers will have to pay a monthly service fee. According to some reviews, Starlink’s pricing plans are relatively affordable if you want fast internet with decent coverage.

The company also offers special bundles that include residential and business internet services at lower prices. Users can also choose to receive service by the foot. Starlink’s plan with the bundle is priced at $110/month for residential to $500 per month for business.

Google Fiber’s pricing is determined on the basis of the speed of the internet service you want. Its prices are competitive with other fiber optic internet providers, which means they’re relatively cheap. Google Fiber’s basic plan is available starting at $50 per month, which gives you 100Mbps service.

It’s also offering 1Gbps plans at $200 per month. You can expect to pay more for faster speeds. The company also offers a bundle plan, which allows you to get internet, television, and telephone service at discounted prices.

Customer Support

Starlink’s customer support is provided through a text-based forum, which is used for queries related to technical issues with Starlink services. Unfortunately, the forum is not very helpful for customers seeking assistance related to phone call customer service. There’s no phone number you can use to contact Starlink.

Google Fiber offers both phone and text-based customer service. The company is available through phone, email, and chat support. It’s helpful for resolving issues as quickly as possible. Google Fiber also provides tutorials to educate customers on how to operate its service.

Starlink: Pros and Cons

Starlink ProsStarlink Cons
Starlink provides its customers with unlimited data.Satellite internet is much slower than most types of broadband internet service. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a satellite internet provider that delivers maximum advertised speeds.
Satellite internet connections are much faster than most other types. Some satellite internet service providers, such as Starlink, deliver download speeds up to 500Mbps.Satellite internet isn’t available in most parts of the world due to its high cost. This means that only people living in a few countries can subscribe to Starlink’s services.
Satellite internet doesn’t require a wired connection to provide service to customers. That means you don’t have to install cable or fiber optic lines to deliver broadband internet service.Starlink has less customer support due to a lack of phone call customer support.
Satellite internet service is not subject to the same slowdowns normally experienced by wired broadband internet providers. This is because the company’s satellite network has a high degree of redundancy.Starlink relies on orbital satellites to deliver internet by satellite, so it can’t provide service to people living in remote locations.
Starlink provides customers with a wide range of plans to choose from. The company also offers special bundles that allow customers to get internet and TV service at discounted prices.The technical limitations of some Starlink plans make it hard to deliver satellite internet service to people living in remote locations without direct connections to their backhaul network.

Google Fiber: Pros and Cons

Google Fiber ProsGoogle Fiber Cons
Google Fiber is delivering high-speed internet to people living in developed areas. If you live in an area where Google Fiber has already rolled out its service, you can expect to enjoy high-speed 1Gbps internet for a very affordable price.Google Fiber is only available in limited areas where it’s already been rolled out. If you don’t live in one of the areas where Google Fiber is available, you might have to wait for its expansion.
Google Fiber offers professional installation services for its customers, which is good news for people without any prior experience setting up an internet service.Google Fiber has been working on expanding its coverage area for many years. In some cities, it’s not very common to see the Google Fiber service.
Google Fiber believes in providing its customers with privacy. It doesn’t track the data or information you use online, which means that you can use the internet with complete freedom.Google Fiber offers only two plan options to its subscribers. The company is working on expanding the number of plan options it offers in the future.
Google Fiber offers exceptional customer support for its subscribers. It’s accessible via phone, email, and chat.
Google Fiber offers bundles that allow customers to combine multiple services, such as internet, television, and telephone, under a single invoice.

Starlink vs Google Fiber: Which One Is Better?

The main difference between Starlink and Google Fiber is the way they deliver their services to customers. These internet providers are both offering high-speed internet services, which means they have different technical limitations that should be considered before deciding which one is right for you.

Starlink’s service is primarily available in developed countries where satellite coverage is not a problem because it uses its own constellation of satellites to provide its service. This means Starlink has no issues with delivering service to remote places.

Also, the company uses different satellites to deliver services in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Its constellation consists of 48 LEO satellites that provide coverage over North America. Keeping in mind that Starlink is using its own satellite network, it’s good for people living in remote areas who want high-speed internet without any technical limitations.

Google Fiber’s main limitation is the fact that it’s an FTTH internet provider. It can only deliver service to people living in places where there are direct connections from its backhaul network. This means that customers who live in remote areas will not be able to receive Google Fiber services.

The company is offering a limited rollout of 1Gbps internet service in some rural areas and small towns to increase its customer base and expand its coverage area. It’s also planning to offer wireless services using millimeter wave spectrum offerings, which can limit the number of customers who can get it.

Overall, Google Fiber is the best internet provider, as it offers the winning solution to some of the most important issues in terms of technical limitations. Regardless of some of Google Fiber’s exclusions, most people are happy with it as it is quite affordable and delivers fast internet speed.

Google Fiber is also offering television and telephone services. So, if you are looking for high-speed internet delivered to your home, it’s the best choice.

Next Up…

Check out some of our other great content:

Starlink vs Google Fiber: How Do They Compare? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are Starlink internet services like?

Starlink’s services are unique in that they’re primarily accessed through a satellite network. However, the company has plans to expand its ground-based connections as well. Also, if you want to receive both satellite and ground-based services, Starlink has a special deal for you.

How is Starlink's service different from Google Fiber?

The main difference between Starlink and Google Fiber is the way they deliver their services. While Starlink’s service is delivered mostly through satellites, Google Fiber uses fiber optic cables to deliver internet to customers.

This means that Google Fiber customers’ physical locations dictate whether or not they can receive service.

How can I get Google Fiber service?

If you live in one of the areas where Google Fiber is offering its service, you can sign up for it. The company will send a Google Fiber contractor to your home, who will install the fiber optic network and other equipment needed to receive service.

If you have a free HDMI input in your TV, Google Fiber will also connect the receiver for a lower installation fee.

How long does it take to set up Google Fiber service?

Google Fiber takes about two to three days to set up the installation process. After that, you can get service within a few minutes.

In addition, if you sign up for a monthly service, the technician will come out once every six months to take a look at your network.

How can I get Starlink's service?

If you’re interested in getting Starlink’s service, you can contact the company directly through text. From there, a representative will help you set up an account and provide you with installation information.

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