We’re Stuck With Starlink For Now, And I Feel Like a Hypocrite

When we moved to the US in 2015, we had to rent for a few years (because credit scores, and the fact that it took a while to sell our UK house after we moved).

But by the time we reached 2019, we’d saved up enough money for a deposit, and we began to look for a house to buy. And well, we found this place.

No, I’m not telling you where we live. That’s weird and boundaries are good.

I wanted to live In the country, and so we looked for properties out of town. But the challenge with living out of town, especially when you’re a nerd, is a good Internet service.

The OG Connection... Prior to solar and Starlink
The OG wifi down the valley – before Starlink (no, not the one on the garage)

While there’s no cable or even ADSL (AT&T could do a 0.25 mbps) we found a local ISP that offered long-range WiFi. It was expensive, but the house was too good to pass up. So we signed up as a business customer (because I run my own business and at the time occasionally worked from home) and we budgeted an inordinate amount of money for the connection.

We pretty quickly realized that the WiFi down the valley had some issues in bad weather, and eded up buying an external antenna for a 4G connection down the valley. But… again, it was slow, and unreliable.

Then Starlink came along. Starlink’s Beta promised cable-like download speed and all the joy of a modern connected life. And so we decided to sign up.

Our dishy was installed just as our Solar went on.
Solar and Starlink – Both arrived about the same time.

Then COVID came. COVID came about six months before the time that our Starlink Beta request was ready to be fulfilled. And because I didn’t want to fire any employees due to COVID, I opted to get rid of our $1400 a month studio space and instead switch to working-from-home. Because making sure you can keep paying people is better than a fancy studio space you can’t use because there are no-more staff at your company.

At that point, Starlink made sense. We signed up, keeping our other WiFi connection as a backup to Starlink. It felt like a good combination: Starlink was great for download but not upload, but the other local WiFi from the local ISP was perfect for upload consistency but not for speed.

And thus it’s been that way for a few years. But then Elon Musk started doing weird shit.

Musk’s move toward fascism, complete with the transphobia, ‘isms and authoritarian policy decisions at Twitter – has frankly disgusted me. And while I try very hard to cover Tesla in as impartial a way as possible, neither I nor my wife want to give him any of our money.

We spent last week with Starlink turned off, and thought we were going to be able to cancel. So we did.

This holiday weekend? Because of the weather, and ongoing power cuts in the region, we have had a pretty rubbish connectivity. Today, our local WiFi network was down for several hours at a time. Why? Because the local WiFi ISP relies on power being at every building that it uses to bounce the signal up the valley to us.

If one building loses power? We all lose Internet. And the power goes out a lot up here. We’ve got power backup, but not everyone up the valley whose power is needed to boost the signal is in the same boat.

Running a business from home – as well as my wife still working from home – means that we need an Internet connection that will remain up. When the power goes out.

Right now, 5G Rural Internet isn’t available. 4G internet isn’t fast enough, and the other satellite providers are either terrible or not available yet where we live.

We’re going to switch away from Starlink as soon as we can.. for now though? We’re stuck.
And I feel like a total hypocrite. I’m sorry. 🙁