Given that satellite internet is often the only solution for folks with little to no fixed broadband access, the Speedtest® results we saw coming from HughesNet, Starlink and Viasat during Q2 2021 were encouraging. However, Starlink was the only satellite internet provider in the United States with fixed-broadband-like latency figures, and median download speeds fast enough to handle most of the needs of modern online life at 97.23 Mbps during Q2 2021 (up from 65.72 Mbps in Q1 2021). HughesNet was a distant second at 19.73 Mbps (15.07 Mbps in Q1 2021) and Viasat third at 18.13 Mbps (17.67 Mbps in Q1 2021). None of these are as fast as the 115.22 Mbps median download speed for all fixed broadband providers in the U.S. during Q2 2021, but it beats digging twenty miles (or more) of trench to hook up to local infrastructure.
Why isn’t the State of Montana implementing a support program for residents to subscribe to Starlink? It could be either a temporary or permanent solution while broadband development is planned and implemented in the future. People need broadband now – not in a few years.
Starlink receives nearly $73 million for more than 29,000 sites in Montana.
SpaceX won bids to provide internet across Montana, including swaths of Lincoln, Flathead and Glacier counties and small pockets along the Hi-Line at Cut Bank, Shelby and Havre. SpaceX also will serve an area east of Bigfork.
How was the $73 million utilized?
How many households in Montana are using Starlink?
How many more could subscribe with these funds?