Starlink in Australia

Information based on conversations with Starlink Australia and BIRRR web research.

When will Starlink be available in Australia ?

Cost

  • $139 per month / AUS Dollars?
    Yes
  • Are you provided with a tax invoice and is there GST? Is there a lock in contract?
    GST included, tax invoice is downloadable from the account portal.  No lock in contract. Upon purchase, equipment is owned by the customer with a 12-month warranty for failure. Thereafter it is the customers responsibility.
  • What payment methods do you have available?
    Apple Pay and Credit Card – international transaction charges apply, the billing is completed in Singapore.

Equipment / Hardware 

  • Cost, what equipment comes with the $709 hardware fee (plus $100 postage).
    Dish, WiFi router, a PoE (power over Ethernet) supply, a tripod mount and two Ethernet cables
  • In the box
  • Two types of roof mounts are optional extras. Volcano & Pipe Adapter Mounts are available for purchase.

  • How much does the roof mount kit cost?
    Yet to be determined.
    Starlink in their FAQ say:
    Download the Starlink app to assess field of view in your desired install location before installing. If you cannot find a clear field of view from the ground level, consider a roof install. Roof mounts are available for purchase in your account.
  • Is it self-install? How easy is it to install, what type of instructions do you send out?
    Yes, self-install and fairly easy to install.
    As a user you connect the dish to its base and place it outside in a spot on the ground or flat roof with a clear view of the sky, connect to power supply/router and power on. The dish will automatically track it’s own placement and connect to the Starlink network.

  • What type of warranty is offered on the equipment?
    1 year warranty on equipment.
  • If the equipment is damaged in a storm or fire or by birds chewing cables etc who is responsible for it?
    End user is responsible for the equipment and any damage that occurs to it. 
  • How easy is it to get replacement equipment? Where does it ship from?
    Equipment ships from Los Angeles.
  • If I use solar power, do you have a DC version of the Starlink power supply?  Can the equipment be run off a generator?
    There is not currently a DC power supply. Starlink can be run off a generator if it is a clean AC sinusoid.
  • Does the power supply come with an Australian plug? Or do I need to use an adaptor?
    Comes with an Australian plug.
  • Do you need some type of internet connection already for the app to install to work?
    You will need to have the internet to download the app, however once installed it will work without a connection to check location and connect to your Starlink system. The app is only a bonus, it’s not necessarily needed to get the service working.
  • Will the equipment handle all temperatures? Frost? Dew? High winds?
    They have tested in all conditions and are confident it can handle extreme heat, rain, snow etc. The user terminal will receive upgrades over the course of the next few months to improve facilitating snow meltability as winter arrives and it can operate in temperatures as low as -30°C and exceeding 40°C. SpaceX has also tested the terminal at 45°C but the terminal is not certified to operate at this range. Additionally, the SpaceX representative also confirmed that the terminal is not designed to operate in high winds and should be brought indoors in such a circumstance. https://wccftech.com/starlink-laser-operating-temperature-other-details/
  • Will they consider engaging local installers to roof mount equipment?
    No, it will be self-install.
  • Will they be allowing any resellers? Do they only intend to offer services direct or are they planning wholesale to other providers?
    No resellers
  • Can you purchase / get parts e.g. just the dish?
    This Kit is sold as a whole kit. Power supplies and routers can be replaced if necessary, shipped from Los Angeles at your cost. Questioned on the establishment of regional supply depots, but the answer was non-committal.
  • Can the dish work from inside a building with large windows?
    No.
  • What are the recommendations for what to do with your outside equipment during a cyclone/heatwave/dust storm/grasshopper plague/bushfire?
    Bring it inside – it is robust enough to withstand some wind, rain etc. Won’t handle cyclones or the type of wind that would take your dog off the chain 😉
  • Should users protect their equipment from power surges? (quite common in Australia)
    Starlink meets all National Electric Code requirements and there is no exposed metal.
  • In the event of loss of signal/no connection, how long does it take to re-aquire services?
    Typically very quickly, but it depends on the cause.
  • Clearly, trees and hills will affect signal reception, does Skyline have a rule of thumb regarding the typical working angle of view (the sweet spot) for those living in bushland?
    We provide a feature on the application so customers can find the best field of view!
  • For those living in the outback with horizon to horizon views, presumably day to day atmospheric conditions will prevent reception when the satellite is close to the horizon.
    Starlink should be capable in this environment
  • Is there any direct experience so far in regard to reception through bushfire smoke or haze?
    No experience yet, but Starlink should be capable in this environment
  • The consumer satellite dishes have moving parts, what is the wind speed rating of these units?
    This is dependent on how the customer is mounting their Starlink. The highest rated mount would be the volcano mount tested up to 75 MPH winds.

Data

  • If the data is unlimited in the beta phase, can it be expected to be unlimited in the final setup? Or will the beta testers determine what will happen in the final setup?
    Starlink hopes with more satellites being launched they will be able to continue to offer unlimited data past the Beta stage.
  • Do you perform traffic prioritisation? eg video has less priority than web browsing?
    No
  • Do you shape traffic if I use too much data?
    No, not yet anyway. We ensure that any location is ‘right sized’ in customers numbers for the current satellite coverage.

On Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/Starlink/wiki/faq#wiki_-_will_starlink_be_available_in_dense_urban_areas.2Fcities.3F )
Will Starlink be available in dense urban areas/cities?
Elon: “We’ll have some small number of customers in Los Angeles but we can’t do a lot of customers in Los Angeles because the bandwidth per cell is simply not high enough” also “I wanna be clear, it’s not like Starlink is a huge threat to telcos. I want to be super clear. It is not. In fact it will be helpful to telcos because Starlink will serve the hardest to serve customers that telcos otherwise have trouble doing with landlines or even with cell radio stations, cell towers.”

  • Is Starlink for residential use only? What is the usage limit of residential use? eg 150GB per month? Can I use it for my business?
    They are currently offering residential only but have a business team in the future who will be introduced to BIRRR.
  • Will you restrict the number of users in a particular cell?
    Yes service will be capped to a certain number in each area.
    Starlink cells are indicated here
    https://sebsebmc.github.io/starlink-coverage/index.html
  • What is the service availability?
    99% was mentioned and that it depends on the satellite coverage. There will be some periods of downtime.

Location

  • Can the service be moved? Is it portable ? Can the terminal be transported for nomadic use e.g. itinerant workers in stock camps and grey nomads.
    Not at this stage however they are moving towards making the equipment a portable/mobile product within the next 12 months. From the Starlink official FAQ: “Starlink satellites are scheduled to send the internet down to all users within a designated area on the ground. This designated area is referred to as a cell. Your Starlink is assigned to a single cell. If you move your Starlink outside of its assigned cell, a satellite will not be scheduled to serve your Starlink and you will not receive internet. This is constrained by geometry and is not arbitrary geofencing.”
  • If I move addresses, do I have to send the equipment back to Starlink? How much does that cost? What happens if I use the connection somewhere it’s not registered for use?
    Yes if you move you need to send the equipment back, no answer on costs, connection won’t work if you use it somewhere it is not registered. 
  • Does your address need to map to a particular database or Google maps to be able to order the service? Yes, your address does need to match in databases to be able to order the service online. It was suggested that if your address does not marry up, you can reach out to Starlink to make the coordinate adjustments on your account.

Weather

  • You say the service doesn’t work well in heavy winds. What is the wind rating of the tripod ground-mount? What is the wind rating of the roof mount?
    This is dependent on how the customer is mounting their Starlink. The highest rated mount would be the volcano mount tested up to 75 MPH winds.
  • How does the service perform in rain events?
    Beta testing shows good performance and has been tested in various rainy conditions.
  • Do you have different sized dishes for more tropical areas?
    No
  • What is the likely pattern of predicted interruptions due to lack of satellite coverage? Should users expect any downtime or periods of no connectivity?
    Early in beta program there will be brief periods of no connectivity, however we expect this to reduce dramatically as we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and make network software improvements.
  • Are there any weather events (apart from those requiring safe stowage of the antenna) that will cause service interruption?
    The outdoor Starlink dish operating temperature is -30 to +50 degrees C.

Speed

  • What types of speeds should people be getting – download and upload? Do you guarantee a set speed parameter?
    They expect similar speeds to the Beta trials, 50 – 150mbps (with more satellites up to 300mbps), no speed guarantees.
  • Are the speeds expected in the final service, like the beta ones?
    Yes
  • What type of latency should I expect in Australia, will it be similar to US beta testers?
    Possibly, maybe a bit higher, 20 – 40ms, sometimes more.  They are interested to see performance in Australia.

Support

  • What support is available to help people with installation or connection issues?
    Support for connection issues mainly, installation issues not so easy to offer support for.
  • Where will the support be based? What hours will they be available?
    Support based in the US, available 24 hours 7 days a week.
  • How will you be able to contact support? Will you be able to phone and speak to someone?
    Primarily Online, create a ticket. May also have a phone service available.
    BIRRR noted that often people in regional Australia don’t have a backup internet service and will only have a landline available.
  • We understand that logistics are LA based. In the event of a hardware failure that requires replacement equipment, what is the anticipated diagnostics and supply delay.
    We target to respond to tickets within the same day. In the event a replacement is needed, shipping time is estimated to take 1-2 weeks

  • Does the customer terminal provide user diagnostics, such that the user and StarLink can accurately determine the network performance and availability? Metrics such as latency, jitter (up and down), speed (up and down) packet loss, outage totals, data usage etc.
    Yes, the Starlink app provides details on performance, including outages, obstructions, See below

  • Does the customer terminal identify satellite signal strength and the number of satellites in range and can the customer view this information?
    See above – the user will know when no satellites are above
  • Will the StarLink operations centre perform powerful analytics to ensure that Starlink is aware of any service degradation before the customer?
    Absolutely. We are constantly monitoring and optimizing performance.
  • How transparent is StarLink as a service provider? Will we hear the good with the bad?
    Yes, we are transparent about quality of service & outages.
  • Will the StarLink network operations Centre be able to monitor individual services?
    Absolutely.
  • Australian consumer law effectively deems that if a purchased product is unfit for service that the customer is fully re-reimbursed. Is this the case?
    Absolutely! Starlink is licensed under Australia law & will operate a such.

Technical

  • Can I have a static IP address?
    Not at this time.
  • Do you allow bonding for commercial usage?
    Currently the Starlink dish is only licensed for residential use but you can reach out to the Starlink team for commercial use inquiries.
    When will inter-satellite laser communication become available?
    There is not set date but we are actively working on it.
    When will IPv6 be available?
    There is not set date but we are actively working on it.
    Do you use CGNAT, can you forward ports for me?
    This is not currently available.
    Will it work with VPNs?
    Yes but not all VPNs
    Is the frequency in use susceptible to interference from local RF?
    Yes
    Do the earth stations use a fibre backhaul? If so, who with and where does it go?
    Ground stations are optimized for Customer location.

References

StarLink FAQ https://www.starlink.com/faq 

Starlink Wiki on reddit – https://www.reddit.com/r/Starlink/wiki/index

Starlink on Twitter https://twitter.com/SpaceXStarlink 

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with Starlink regarding your own connection issues and equipment needed.