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Key Points:
  • Starlink and Spectrum are two of the most popular satellite Internet providers in the U.S. Both offer high-speed broadband Internet that can access the web, stream videos, and play games.
  • Starlink has coverage nationwide, even in rural areas, while Spectrum covers 32 states.
  • Both Starlink and Spectrum have unlimited data plans available. When it comes to throttling, Spectrum has a 1 TB limit on its unlimited plans before they throttle your connection.

When it comes to Internet service, there are a lot of options out there. From satellite providers like Starlink and broadband providers like Spectrum, it’s hard to know what’s best for you. We chose what we think are two of the biggest companies and compared them in this Starlink vs Spectrum analysis.

First up is Starlink. It’s a newcomer to the market, but it has some big-name backers behind it. SpaceX started the company, so you can be sure that they have the resources to skyrocket. They offer broadband Internet service with numerous plans and speeds.

Spectrum is a veteran in the market. They have been around for a lot longer than Starlink. They offer broadband Internet service with several plans and speeds. However, their nationwide availability isn’t as good as Starlink’s. In this article, we will compare these two Internet services to ultimately conclude which one is the best.

StarlinkSpectrum
SpeedStarlink has a maximum download speed of up to 350 MbpsStarting at 300 Mbps to 1 Gbps
PriceStarlink’s cost is $110/month for up to 200 Mbps speedThe cheapest plan starts at $49.99, and the most expensive and fastest plan costs $89.99
AvailabilityStarlink has coverage nationwide, even in rural areasSpectrum has coverage in 32 states
Data capsStarlink has no data caps
(customers that go over 250 GB in a month will be given less priority during peak times)
They do not enforce any data caps (they throttle users that use a lot of data)
Year Started20191996
starlink vs spectrum
Starlink is a project of SpaceX and provides satellite internet access across the USA.

©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to Internet connectivity, there are a lot of options available. But which is the best? Starlink and Spectrum are two of the most popular satellite Internet providers in the United States. Both companies offer high-speed broadband Internet that can access the web, stream videos, and play games.

While they may seem similar at first glance, there are some significant differences between the two services that you need to understand before making a purchase. Starlink is a satellite-based Internet service SpaceX launched in February 2019. It is a first-of-its-kind Internet provider with high-speed Internet access all over the world. No matter where you live or what device you use, Starlink is guaranteed to work. 

Spectrum is an American classic that offers three Internet bundles. Its speeds start at 300 Mbps and go up to1000 Mbps. The company also offers TV bundle plans with 150+ channels that can be added on or bought as a bundle along with the Internet.

Price

Spectrum’s entry-level plan costs $49.99 a month for 300 Mbps download speeds, or $89.99 a month for 1 Gbps download speeds. You can have phone service for a few dollars more per month, or you can get TV channels for $9 per month with your Internet package. Starlink has a package available for $110, which gives you 250 Mbps. It has a faster plan. However, it’s only designed for marine vehicles, and can only be used out in the open ocean.

Speed

Spectrum has one of the fastest broadband speeds available in America today. The company offers plans with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps). It’s worth noting that these plans are only available in a few markets where Spectrum has invested heavily in its infrastructure, including New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. 

For reference, Starlink offers download speeds ranging from 250 Mbps to 350 Mbps, depending on the plan you are on. This means that Starlink offers slower download speeds than Spectrum on average. Starlink has announced a plan to increase its speeds steadily over the next few months. But as of yet, they are still at 250 Mbps.

Data Caps

starlink vs spectrum
The Spectrum brand was first introduced in 2014.

©Piotr Swat/Shutterstock.com

Both Starlink and Spectrum have unlimited data plans available. There’s one big difference between the two companies when it comes to throttling, though. Spectrum has a 1 TB limit on its unlimited plans before they throttle your connection. What’s most important here is that the amount the speed drops from Spectrum when throttled is slower than the speed drops from Starlink.

Starlink will give users less priority if they exceed a limit of 250GB per month, but the priority limit is not nearly as noticeable as the speed drops from Spectrum. And Starlink only applies this during congested times.

Availability

Starlink is available in all the states in the United States and 33 other countries so far. While Spectrum is also available in the United States, it’s only in 32 States. Starlink offers some of the grid plans as well. These plans can be used anywhere in the country where there is a clear view of the southern sky at night (in other words, rural areas). Or, as we mentioned before, in a boat or out on the ocean.

Starlink was founded by Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and SpaceX. They launched it in February 2019 and have been slowly expanding since. In the long run, it is a massive project that will connect everyone in the world and improve communications across borders. There are concerns about its speed at present, but this should not worry people as much as it does. Starlink will keep growing its satellite network to achieve higher speeds soon.

Overall, Starlink has enormous potential and is worth investing in, especially if you live in an area that won’t be connected any time soon, or isn’t currently served by Internet speeds high enough for today’s needs.

Past and Future Of Spectrum

Spectrum is a new name on the Internet market, which offers a solution to providing users with Internet, TV channels, and more; all in one place. Although it has recently started providing Internet, Spectrum has been providing TV cable since 1996.

They are very popular and have superb customer support and feedback. They also have very good speeds that are fairly consistent, even in busier places. But they suffer in areas with less population. Spectrum has no plans to increase its speeds or change anything except to upgrade its network and expand to more states.

Here are 7 must-know facts about these providers:

  • Both Starlink and Spectrum provide high-speed Internet services.
  • Starlink satellites are small and relatively cheap compared to other types of satellites. Starlink uses low-Earth orbit satellites instead of geostationary ones, which stay in one place above Earth’s equator. Low-Earth orbit satellites are smaller and cheaper because they don’t have as much fuel on board to keep them in their orbits as geostationary ones do.
  • Spectrum is a cable company that provides Internet service through fiber optic cables.
  • Starlink uses low-Earth orbit satellites instead of geostationary ones, which stay in one place above the Earth’s equator. Low-Earth orbit satellites are smaller and cheaper because they don’t have as much fuel on board to keep them in their orbits as geostationary ones do.
  • They send the Starlink satellites up into space using the famous reusable Falcon 9 rocket. A single launch will put around 60 satellites into orbit at once. 
  • Each Starlink satellite is about the size of a school bus and weighs around 573 pounds (260 kg).
  • The Starlink network will provide Internet access to areas where fiber optic cables aren’t readily available or affordable.

When it comes to choosing an Internet service, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important considerations is coverage and speed. Both providers offer great, fast Internet. But the best speed goes to Spectrum. It is faster than Starlink, even at its most affordable plan. Starlink and Spectrum both offer a variety of pricing options.

But even Spectrum’s most expensive plan is cheaper than Starlink. For these two reasons alone the obvious winner is Spectrum. However, Starlink offers better coverage in the states and difficult-to-reach areas than Spectrum does. This makes it one of your only options if you live off the beaten path.

Up Next…

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

Is Starlink as fast as Spectrum?

Spectrum is a lot faster than Starlink. There are a few things to consider when comparing Starlink and other Internet providers. First, it is important to understand that Starlink is not as fast as traditional cable or DSL services. It can only reach speeds of up to 200Mbps in some areas, which is considerably slower than most conventional providers.

What are the disadvantages of Starlink?

Data speeds will vary depending on location and usage habits. Peak times can often be slower than average speeds during off-peak hours due to congestion on the network. Also, most people that order one now would be on a 1- to 3-month-long waiting list.

How fast is Starlink compared to cable Internet?

While there is no definitive answer, Starlink appears to be a promising alternative to traditional cable Internet. According to some early tests, it can potentially be as fast, or even faster than, standard cable Internet. And unlike traditional ISPs, which often have stringent data caps and monthly fees, Starlink does not appear to have any such limitations.

Will Starlink have unlimited data?

Starlink does not come with a data cap. You will not be capped or slowed down because you are using too much data. Some users might get preference based on their monthly usage, but most will not even know the difference.

Is Starlink faster than 5G?

No, Starlink is not faster than 5G. 

Is there a monthly fee with Starlink?

The monthly fee for Starlink is $110.

Is Starlink faster than optical fiber?

On average, optical fiber provides faster speeds than both satellite and 5G networks while still offering more consistent video quality. In fact, 5G actually surpasses fiber optic cables in terms of speed.

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