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Understanding Starlink Service in Canada

Published On 
May 1, 2023

What is Starlink?

Before we delve into the specifics of Starlink’s Canadian services, it’s crucial to grasp what Starlink is. Starlink, a subsidiary of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has undertaken a massive project to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband internet globally, even to the most remote corners of the earth. The secret to their ambitious mission? A constellation of thousands of small, low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, coupled with ground transceivers.

Starlink’s Canadian Debut

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission granted SpaceX’s Starlink a license in October 2020, paving the way for the company to provide internet service in Canada. The license allows SpaceX to supply both fixed and mobile retail Internet services across the country. This introduction brings hope for more consistent and faster internet connectivity, particularly in rural and remote areas where conventional broadband access is limited or nonexistent.

Fascinating Facts about Starlink Satellites

  • Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency service is enabled by its innovative satellites. Here are a few remarkable characteristics of these cutting-edge devices:
  • Compact Design: Weighing in at around 260 kilograms each, Starlink’s satellites are compact and flat-panelled. This space-efficient design allows for a denser launch stack to maximize the capabilities of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
  • Powerful Antennas: Each satellite comes equipped with four phased array antennas, enabling rapid redirection of an enormous amount of data throughput, all at an exceptionally low cost.
  • Simplified Solar Power: Simplification is a key theme for Starlink. The satellites sport a single solar array. This makes the system more straightforward and easy to integrate into the manufacturing process as solar cells are standardized.
  • Ion Propulsion: Notably, the satellites are the first krypton propelled spacecraft ever flown. They feature efficient ion thrusters powered by krypton, which facilitates orbit rise, in-space maneuvers, and deorbiting at the end of their useful life.

How Does Starlink Fare in Canada?

According to user reports, Starlink’s beta service is delivering on its promise of high-speed, reliable internet service, with download speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps. The service isn’t confined to urban areas; these speeds are being seen in rural locations where previously only low-speed options were available.

Given Canada’s diverse geography, with extensive rural and remote regions, the arrival of Starlink could signify a new era in digital connectivity for the nation. However, it’s also worth noting that service quality can fluctuate due to weather conditions and the current satellite coverage. Starlink is continuously launching additional satellites to improve coverage and service stability.

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