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Viasat is Mexico’s fastest satellite internet service but latency is an issue

Elon Musk's Starlink service delayed by at least one year

United States-based communications company Viasat provides Mexico’s fastest satellite internet service for downloads, a new analysis shows, but speeds are well below the fixed broadband median.

An analysis by internet performance service Speedtest found that Viasat’s median download speed in the third quarter of 2021 was 14.94 megabits per second (Mbps), a 7% increase compared to the previous quarter.

The only other satellite internet service included in the analysis was HughesNet, another U.S.-based company, which had a median download speed of 10.64 Mbps in Q3, an 11% decrease compared to Q2.

By contrast, Mexico’s median download speed for fixed broadband in Q3 was 33.14 Mbps, or more than twice as fast as the service provided by Viasat.

For uploads, HughesNet was 58% faster than Viasat. The former service’s median upload speed in Q3 was 3.21 Mbps while the latter’s was 2.03 Mbps. The median speed for fixed services was much higher at 8.88 Mbps.

Compared to fixed broadband, both satellite services performed poorly for latency, the time it takes for a signal to travel from a computer to a remote server and back.

Viasat and HughesNet had third quarter latency of 675 milliseconds (ms) and 748 ms, respectively. Median latency for fixed broadband services was just 12 ms.

Starlink, the satellite internet service owned by business magnate Elon’s Musk, was given permission to operate in Mexico in May, and the government stipulated that it had to be ready to offer its services within 180 days, or by October 28.

But technology news website Xataka reported that Starlink is not expected to begin operations in Mexico until late 2022 or early 2023. It was reported earlier this year that the service would cost US $99 monthly. Service will also require the purchase of a Starlink hardware kit, which will cost $499 plus shipping.

Operated by Musk’s company SpaceX, Starlink is the fastest satellite internet service in the United States and several other countries, according to Speedtest. Its download speed in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom was faster than the median for fixed services.

In the United States, Starlink’s median download and upload speeds last quarter were 87.25 Mbps and 13.54 Mbps, respectively. Its latency was 44 ms.

With reports from Xataka

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