Starlink vs Spectrum comparison can be exciting to anyone who is looking for internet service with high speed.
The best between these two services may not have a direct answer because it depends on your preference.
Both are incredible in many aspects, but not in equal measure.
We will offer you a side-by-side comparison that will help any potential subscriber to make an informed decision.
What is Starlink and How Does it Work?
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation that connects to your home via a dish and a router.
The service uses a low earth orbit satellite constellation instead of many of its competitors that set their satellites in high altitudes.
Starlink uses radio frequencies to transmit the signals. It has ground stations that relay the data to the satellites in the low earth orbit.
The satellites then transmit the signals back to the Earth for subscribers to access.
This service aims to offer reliable global coverage, especially in remote areas where cable infrastructure cannot be accessed.
What is Spectrum and How Does it Work?
Spectrum is a fiber-rich cable TV and phone internet service provider with a countrywide availability in the US. The service is popular for its ability to balance the cost with performance.
It uses Radio Spectrum frequency. Radio Spectrum bands can be classified as low (less than 3 GHz), Medium-Range (3-24 GHz) and High-Range ( above 24 GHz).
Optical fibers of fiber optic cable
Side-By-Side Stralink Vs. Spectrum Comparision
Starlink is already available in over 60 countries worldwide, including the US. It is fast improving and will soon have global coverage.
SpaceX proposed launching up to 42,000 satellites to ensure reliable global internet coverage.
Already, the company has a good number of satellites in space.
Spectrum is one of the US’s largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
It is an internet service based on cable infrastructure and, therefore cannot penetrate every part of the United States.
Despite being in the industry for years, remote areas with poor landscapes still lack this service.
You can access it in at least 41 states. However, spectrum has a grid plan that will enable subscribers to access it anywhere within the US, even in remote areas.
That said, Starlink has the best coverage; you can access it even in the most remote areas.
A technician on a ladder installing Spectrum cable
Starlink kit usually has all the equipment you need to set up your internet WiFi.
The kit includes a dish, a router, a 75-foot Stralink cable, and a relatively shorter power cable.
On the other hand, Spectrum uses a modem, router, and hybrid fiber coaxial featuring set-top boxes. For spectrum internet coverage, you will only require a router and modem.
If you need other services that they offer, such as TV, you will require set-top boxes too.
Starlink is one of the fastest if not the fastest, satellite internet services you can come across now.
The company advertises up to 250 Mbps download speed for residential users, with business subscribers getting even better speed.
Though these are not the exact speeds you will get, what you practically get is still better than its competitors, such as Hughesnet and Viasat.
Spectrum is a cable internet service provider. Internet service providers that use cables usually perform better in speed than satellite-based internet.
Starlink standard speed practically can’t match even the lowest tier offered by Spectrum Internet service.
That said, each service offers three plans with different speeds. The speeds per plan are as follows:
|Download Speed (Mbps)
|Upload Speed (Mbps)
|Spectrum Internet Standard
|Spectrum Internet Ultra
|Spectrum Internet Gig
|Download Speed (Mbps)
|Upload Speed (Mbps)
Latency measures the delay period between the data request and the response and, therefore, should be as low as possible.
For a satellite internet service, it is a time delay between the satellites to the user receiver and back.
Starlink sets its satellites in the low earth orbit, and this reduces the distance the signal will cover.
Compared to other satellite services that set their satellites at high altitudes, Starlink has a lower latency.
The advertised latency is between 20 Ms and 50 Ms, but most users report between 40 Ms and 70 Ms It can even get to 100 Ms when connecting to high traffic scenarios.
It takes some time for a signal to pass through a fiber or wire. For that reason, latency is also significant in cable internet providers such as Spectrum.
However, it is much lower compared to what you will experience with the satellite internet service, ranging between
20 Ms and 30 Ms. The lower the latency, the better the internet experience.
Starlink charges $599 for equipment and $120 per month for their standard plan. However, the monthly charges may be lower for areas below capacity.
The RV user will pay the same for the equipment but around a $135 monthly service fee.
The most expensive Starlink package is the Business Plan. This package will pay back $2,500 for the equipment, then $500 monthly.
Spectrum is relatively cheaper, with both upfront and ongoing fees. The Spectrum Internet Standard plan costs only $75 per month.
Spectrum Internet Ultra costs $95 monthly, while Spectrum Internet Gig costs only $115.
Another good thing about Spectrum Internet is the offers that the company has. The service offers a promotion where you can get a lower service price for 6 to 12 months.
Unlike its competitors, such as Xfinity, which changes some amount for modem rental, Spectrum offers modems with no additional charges.
These two providers are reliable and rarely experience outages. Satellite internet services are prone to weather interference.
However, Starlink works in bad weather. Extreme rain or snowfall may affect it, but only for a few seconds or minutes.
Cabled internet services don’t experience a lot of interference from the weather. Spectrum solidly performs even in extreme weather conditions.
Most internet service providers don’t do well regarding customer support.
Starlink doesn’t offer a phone number or email that you can use to contact them immediately.
Instead, you will fill out a support ticket, which is available on their website or app.
On the other hand, Spectrum offers better customer support via phone, chat, and in-person through the Spectrum store.
While their support looked better than Starlink’s, it was not outstanding during our test.
There is no better service than the other in this comparison. It all depends on your preference. Each service is stronger in its way.
Starlink has better coverage and is a better option for people living in rural areas where cable infrastructure cannot access.
Apart from coverage, Spectrum outshines Starlink in the rest of the aspects we tested. It is fast and reliable but very affordable compared to Starlink.