Change is unavoidable at times. We can accept it now or wait until the world changes, and we no longer have a choice. When it comes to traditional internet, you currently have many options as a consumer.
Because it is fast and dependable, fiber optic internet is the current telecommunications standard. However, satellite internet is gradually gaining popularity and may become the future standard for internet transmissions.
So, which would you choose, Starlink vs Centurylink?
It depends on where you live and what kind of internet service you want, whether you use Starlink, an internet satellite company and SpaceX subsidiary owned by Elon Musk, or Centurylink, the third-largest telecommunications corporation in the United States. Centurylink specializes in landline telephone services, satellite television, and fiber optic internet.
Even though fiber optic internet is faster and more reliable, only 20% of Americans use it. While more than 63% of the world’s population (about five billion people) is connected to the internet, less than 0.5% of that population uses satellite broadband internet. This equates to less than 43 million people worldwide.
Let’s compare Starlink and Centurylink and decide which service may be better for you.
Starlink vs Centurylink: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Founders||Elon Musk, Kimbal Musk, Gwynne Shotwell||F.E. Hogan, Sr.|
|Headquarters||Redmond, Washington||Monroe, Louisiana|
|Service||Low Earth orbit satellite internet||Satellite TV, telecommunications, and internet|
|Cost||$110 monthly, one-time $599 hardware fee||$50 monthly|
|Internet Speed||50 to 150 Mbps||100 to 940 Mbps|
Starlink vs. Centurylink: What’s the Difference?
The primary distinction between Starlink and Centurylink is that Starlink provides satellite internet service, whereas Centurylink is a traditional telecommunications company that provides fiber optic internet.
Let us now compare and contrast the two internet subscription services.
Starlink is a revolutionary and brand-new satellite internet service provider. It is a subsidiary of billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk’s commercial space travel and engineering company. Starlink was founded and conceptualized in 2015 as a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite company that would provide customers with satellite internet access.
Since 2019, Starlink has been launching its commercial satellites into space and developing its brand. The company is attempting to serve and cater to a growing niche of satellite internet consumers who live in remote or rural areas but can benefit from the service instead of waiting for traditional cable internet infrastructure to arrive.
Starlink is less than a decade old, but it aspires to be ahead of the curve for a future satellite-based internet that could become more of a norm, if not a standard.
Centurylink is arguably the third-largest American telecommunications company, trailing only AT&T and Verizon. On the other hand, Centurylink built its reputation and status over a century of business operations, acquisitions, mergers, and name changes.
Centurylink was founded in 1930 as the Oak Ridge Telephone Company in Oak Ridge, Louisiana. A new owner bought the company in 1947, relocated it to Marion, and renamed it the Marion Telephone Company. In 1971, the company changed its name to Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc.
CenturyTel, Inc. became its new name in 1999. After merging with data and telecommunications company Embarq in 2009, the company finally settled on Centurylink.
The point is that over nearly a century, the Oak Ridge Telephone Company made a slew of acquisitions, mergers, and rebrandings to strategically grow its consumer base, expand operations, keep up with the times and market trends, and promote its services.
Centurylink will officially change its name to Lumen Technologies by September 2020, reflecting how quickly consumers adapt to new communication forms.
Even though Starlink is well-known due to its famous founder, it still has a long way to go in proving the reliability of its service, particularly when it comes to satellite internet, which still only serves tens of millions of consumers worldwide. For over a century, Centurylink has proven its dependability as a service.
Method of Service
Satellite internet from Starlink is not a novel service. High-Earth orbit (HEO) telecommunication satellites have provided internet access for nearly two decades. However, several traditional high-Earth orbit satellites beam or relay communications signals to Earthbound satellite dishes.
Starlink’s business model differs because it intends to launch tens of thousands of its satellites into low Earth orbit. Since 2019, Starlink has launched over 3,000 satellites into low Earth orbit. It also has permission from the Federal Communications Commission of the United States to launch up to 42,000 low-Earth orbit satellites in the coming years and decades.
Starlink’s business plan is to build a constellation-like shell of orbiting satellites in low Earth orbit. These low-Earth orbit satellites will then continuously transmit and receive signals from the Earthbound Starlink dishes, enabling relatively fast and dependable satellite internet service.
Centurylink subscribers have access to TV, satellite, and traditional internet services. The company offers two types of internet access: fiber optic and digital subscriber line (DSL).
Electronic signals can now be transmitted faster thanks to fiber optic cable. DSL is a method of using existing copper telephone lines to transmit broadband internet without disrupting telecommunications service.
Thanks to the world’s existing telecommunications infrastructure, Centurylink’s services are accessible and usable immediately.
Starlink’s services are both groundbreaking and brand new. The infrastructure of the company is being built as it grows. It will not reach its full potential until at least 10,000 low-Earth orbit satellites are launched. Even so, Starlink intends to launch up to 42,000.
If you request a Starlink dish, you may be placed on a waitlist because they are not always available.
Price and Installation
The service from Starlink will cost you $110 plus a $600 one-time hardware fee. If you want a Starlink business service account, the monthly fee rises to $500, with a one-time $2,500 hardware fee.
Starlink, on the other hand, offers a no-price guarantee on its services. Starlink’s initial monthly subscription fee was $99, with a $499 one-time maintenance fee. However, it will rise to its current level in March 2022. There is no assurance that Starlink’s service rates will not rise again. And, while no one knows for certain, they may raise rates again in the future to generate new revenue as they grow exponentially, add more subscribers, and perfect their low Earth orbit satellite internet constellation technology.
All Starlink customers are expected to install their own dishes. Starlink dishes are technologically advanced and simple to use. They are made up of a small number of easily assembled parts. After activation, the Starlink dish will automatically align itself to a point in the sky to ping a satellite. If you are unsure about this process, you may need to hire someone to do it for you.
CenturyLink provides two internet service plans. Its Simply Unlimited Internet package provides 100 Mbps data, streaming, and multiple device connections. The monthly fee is only $50. The Fiber Internet plan from the company is more than 20 times faster than the Simply Unlimted Internet plan. It provides customers with internet speeds of up to 940 Mbps for $70 per month.
The rates for residential and small businesses are the same. Furthermore, Centurylink guarantees that its internet network is 99.9% reliable. Installation is included, but you can save money by installing your modem.
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Centurylink claims that its internet service is 99.9% reliable.
Starlink cannot make a comparable promise at this time. A geomagnetic storm disrupted the Earth’s electromagnetic shield in February 2022. The Earth was hit by a celestial-sized shockwave released by the sun in the form of solar wind or its remnants. This results in a planet-sized energy transfer, causing the upper atmosphere to become incrementally denser.
As a result, dozens of Starlink satellites encountered unexpected drag, disrupted their orbital trajectories, and fell and burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Starlink will not be able to reliably connect the Earth with uninterrupted satellite internet coverage until it launches at least 10,000 to 42,000 low Earth orbit satellites.
Starlink’s business strategy is to market its satellite internet services to customers in remote and rural areas and the developing world in the future. Starlink is currently available in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia with high reliability. Starlink currently has 400,000 subscribers worldwide. According to the company, the installation will begin in some African countries in late 2022.
However, nearly one-third of the world’s population (about 2.9 billion people) has never used the internet. Starlink may consider marketing to this demographic in the future because it would be easier to provide satellite internet access in such areas than to build traditional wire-based internet infrastructure from the ground up.
And they might be able to do so by the time Starlink launches 42,000 satellites into space, which could take decades. Read more; Top Women in Technology Right Now
Centurylink is available in 36 different states. However, because most traditional internet services are DSL-based, they only offer fiber optic internet services in 19 states. Despite these limitations, Centurylink has 4.5 million subscribers in the United States.
Starlink’s service is not currently suitable for use in densely populated areas, where DSL and fiber optic internet are more plentiful and faster.
Due to its larger subscriber base, CenturyLink wins the market battle between Starlink and Centurylink.
Starlink vs Centurylink: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Centurylink service requires only a modem.
- Centurylink lets customers rent modems for as low as $15 monthly.
- Starlink is testing its service in science facilities in Antarctica.
- Computer chip shortages are exacerbating Starlink’s subscriber waitlist problems.
- Centurylink provides “Price for Life” protection, which means your monthly subscription fee will never increase.
Starlink vs Centurylink: Which One Should You Use?
We believe Centurylink is better suited to your internet needs unless you live in a remote or rural area with inadequate or nonexistent internet. Centurylink has a traditional internet infrastructure spanning 36 states, and its service is less expensive.
Starlink is not suitable for use in large, densely populated urban areas. In these environments, the majority of the world’s DSL and fiber optic internet infrastructure already exists. Furthermore, DSL and fiber optic internet are significantly faster and more reliable than Starlink’s current services.
Starlink is a technologically groundbreaking service that has the potential to become a standard service in the future. However, the future has not yet arrived.
These facts may change as Starlink adds tens of thousands of satellites to its low-Earth orbit constellation over the next few decades. Until then, Centurylink is the more dependable choice. Read also; 5G vs 5GE: What Is the Difference?
Starlink vs Centurylink: Which is Better FAQs
When did commercial satellite internet service first become available?
In 2003, a French company called Eutelsat launched the first internet service satellite.
What is the average internet speed in the United States?
The average internet speed in the United States is about 43 Mbps.
How high do Starlink constellation satellites orbit?
Satellites in the Starlink constellation orbit 300 to 350 miles above Earth.
How far above the Earth do traditional commercial internet satellites orbit, and how do they differ from Starlink?
Traditional commercial satellite companies operate in geosynchronous orbit, 22,000 miles above the Earth. These businesses typically rent out space on large corporate or government satellites.
Because these satellites orbit so high, traditional internet satellite companies only require two to five of them to beam signals to large areas of the Earth.
Starlink owns its satellites and will launch thousands of smaller satellites into low Earth orbit to ensure uninterrupted and dependable internet service.