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New Speedtest data show Starlink internet speeds and latency are all over the place


Just like its founder Elon Musk, Starlink's satellite-based internet service is erratic. That's according to new data from Ookla's Speedtest Intelligence published Wednesday. An analysis of connectivity metrics collected from users show Starlink is delivering internet download and upload speeds that are sometimes faster, and sometimes slower, than the median of what's available in those same areas. Starlink's latency was higher than broadband in every region except one. Starlink was sometimes an improvement over rural broadband options.

Good enough 5G fixed-wireless broadband could change everything


Congratulations to Optus for re-creating fixed-wireless internet in Australia, and overbuilding parts of the nation that are currently covered by a government-owned wholesaler with ridiculous return expectations. This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, explores how 5G will connect the Internet of things, edge computing and analytics infrastructure with minimal latency. As the National Broadband Network (NBN) company would happily inform Optus, its fixed-wireless network has been beset by congestion issues, is unprofitable, and is incapable of hitting 100Mbps download speeds without major overhauling. But the NBN is using fixed-wireless as a suburban and rural outlier, the last form of connectivity before users are sent across to tackle the ins and outs of its satellite service, whereas Optus is offering its service in built-up areas where it already has a multitude of towers -- and that is set to make all the difference. The Singaporean-owned telco is currently offering AU$70 per month for unlimited data with a 50Mbps minimum speed guarantee -- the same pricing as its lowest NBN broadband bundle.

The Starlink internet beta has begun: Here's what to expect


Numerous early Starlink testers have been notified that they'll soon be linking up to the Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) internet in the "Better Than Nothing Beta" test. Better than nothing actually sounds pretty darn good. In this early stage, Starlink tells its early users to "Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all." Is that as good as you can get from your cable provider?

Enterprises enter the 5G spotlight at MWC


Mobile World Congress takes place this week, so it's time again for carrier and vendors to serve up bold claims about what 5G cellular will do for users -- this time, with a dash of realism. "5G is not ready yet," T-Mobile USA's CTO Neville Ray said Monday morning. "It's maturing quickly, but it's not real today, and I can't go and deploy a 5G radio to serve my customers with and give them a handset." Like most other carriers, T-Mobile is testing pre-standard 5G technology, and Ray is enthusiastic about the next generation in the long term. But he reminded the audience that some parts of 5G, like using ultra-high frequencies to reach mobile devices, still face big technical challenges and 4G will still be around for years after the first big 5G rollouts happen around 2020.

Elon Musk's SpaceX: Starlink lands $885m to bring satellite broadband to 35 US states


SpaceX has just won a key grant worth nearly $1bn from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring its low-Earth orbit Starlink satellite broadband service to people in 35 US states. Elon Musk's space transportation services company has scooped a sizable chunk of the FCC's first round of support under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The first phase is worth $9bn, but the total amount allocated to the fund to patch up rural America's patchy internet is funded to the tune of $16bn over 10 years. SpaceX has been launching about 60 Starlink satellites a month and currently has just under 1,000 orbiting above Earth at an altitude of 500km, or 330 miles. The company has frequently promoted its Starlink missions with Falcon 9 rockets with reusable components.