SpaceX's Starlink Suffers Global Outage

Starlink internet service was down overnight, now showing “degraded service”

Starlink users from various countries have been reporting a service down. On Tuesday, the Starlink RV service in the Netherlands was down for 30 minutes. Through Twitter and Reddit, it was found that users from the US, Mexico, the UK, and New Zealand have reported an outage. Now the reports still show a degraded throughput.

SpaceX's Starlink Suffers Global Outage | PCMag

According to various statements, access returned to most as of 7 AM ET, although many are still reporting degraded throughput. My own speeds have dropped from around 200Mbps / 30Mbps to 32Mbps / 17Mbps (down / up) at publication time.

Last week SpaceX lowered the monthly subscription prices for Starlink by as much as 50 percent in some regions in response to “local market conditions.” That was followed up by Elon Musk taking the stage with T-Mobile to announce a deal to end mobile dead zones by bringing satellite connectivity to existing phones next year. For some, the outage lasted for about three hours. During that time, affected users reported receiving degraded service and intermittent access to the satellite internet service. Starlink’s support team told one user: “We have just been alerted that there is a known network issue in your area. Our engineers are working diligently to resolve these issues.”

Internet outages

Oftentimes, internet outages are caused by a network misconfiguration or a software update that goes wrong. So it’s possible Starlink experienced the same problem. The service currently has nearly 3,000 satellites in orbit, which beam broadband to residences on the ground. SpaceX is routinely rolling out updates to the system in an effort to improve speeds and security.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has also warned that the Russian government has been trying to jam and hack Starlink, which has been supplying high-speed broadband to wartorn areas of Ukraine. Globally, Starlink has around 500,000 subscribers.  Starlink’s brief outage also surfaces at an ironic time – just days after SpaceX and T-Mobile announced a plan to eliminate cellular dead zones in the US by enabling T-Mobile smartphones to connect to Starlink’s heavier-duty, second-gen low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband satellites. A formal commercial launch of such an offering hasn’t been announced, but SpaceX and T-Mobile intend to start testing in 2023. However, this is just ironic timing and nothing more. Especially as there is a lot more SpaceX Starlink to be developed for much better services. The plans have just begun expanding for Starlink, it is a tragedy to get an outage just at this crucial time. “I think what we’re doing here is profound,” SpaceX’s Elon Musk said during an event announcing the partnership. “It will save lives.”