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Phils Soap Box – Starlink

Hi folks the world has changed and most of us don’t even realise how far it has already gone so hold onto your hats and let me tell you a story about the advances in technology that most people simply don’t know about and the implications of that.

I started doing these newsletters in about 2001 simply because I wanted to get good information out to my clients to help them understand and take advantage of the best the technology had to offer in the field of home theatre televisions and any related AudioVisual equipment.

This was the start of the push towards the ‘Smart Home’ where we were finally going to have some of the gadgets and gizmos that we’d all seen on the likes of the Jetsons and Star Trek, and any other science fiction show from about the 70s onwards.

What most of us didn’t realise at that time was that the Internet was the absolute key piece of technology that we were going to need for the Smart Home, Smart TV, and anything else electronical that was smart enough to work properly.

The lack of a good and reliable high speed Internet network for Australia was, and remains, the stumbling block to all of us experiencing the full benefits of the Smart Home revolution. It also has limited our businesses and in fact has cost us a lot of business in ways that sometimes we didn’t even realise.

This is not a condemnation of those in the industry who tried to create a high speed Internet network for Australia. It was just simply that the decision makers at the time did not understand the importance of what was to be called the NBN and so they tried to fit the task into too small a budget. And as we all know “you get what you pay for”.  We certainly learned if you pay too little you end up having to pay a lot more later. They are now rolling out fibre optic to every home, which was the original plan that was recommended, but for many of us, apart from the pain of the billions of dollars extra this is costing you and I, the Australian taxpayer, at 2023 prices, the horse has already bolted.

Australia is going wireless! Why? Because for most of us it is becoming cheaper, faster, easier and more reliable. Not only that we are most definitely a mobile device country. We have more mobile devices per capita then just about anywhere else in the world. When Australians like something we go the whole hog and that’s what we’ve been doing.

No one would disagree with me that the number of retired Australians and semi retired Australians are out visiting every corner of Australia in huge volumes and the numbers are just increasing. I think you would agree that whether we are holidaying, caravanning or camping, we like to have our creature comforts with us as much as possible. So 4G and 5G mobile data has become almost a necessity so that we can stay in touch with our families, perhaps with our business and certainly follow our favourite sports news and stream our favourite shows.

Yes of course Free to Air television and Free to Air satellite play a part in mobile entertainment but streaming is the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world.

Now for business again – the mobile phone has become an incredibly valuable tool for doing business anywhere, anytime, as long as you can get good signal. And with the end of the copper network, phone systems are now VoIP systems which if anyone is not familiar with the term it means “Voice Over Internet Protocol”. In the early days of the changeover, as some of us learnt painfully, if the Internet goes down so do all your phones. Later, when we all decided to store everything in the cloud, and run things like Office 365, One Drive and numerous cloud based office apps, when the Internet went down the office stopped.

Now I don’t know about you specifically, but many people I have spoken to, including ourselves, continue to experience less than reliable Internet from the NBN. Slowdowns and dropouts during the course of any given business day has become commonplace and almost accepted. And yes many of us have been smart enough to get 4G fall-over Internet as a backup, so we can keep working when the main Internet drops out but many systems have a delay in the changeover.

It’s hard to measure exactly the cost to business but these interruptions definitely cost all of us money, not to mention the stress at the time when it all goes down. Now some critical businesses also have power back up, some even generators, to ensure that they don’t lose their ability to function in the  event of a power failure, be it short or long. However if the power that runs the NBN locally fails that critical business can lose it’s Internet connection, no matter how much they protect their power.

So where is this all going? Well, I told you at the start of this newsletter that the world had changed and the change I’m talking about is Starlink satellite Internet and 5G mobile data.

5G mobile data, as it rolls out across the Sunshine Coast, will give us in the highly populated areas excellent high speed Internet for personal and business use. It will be simple to connect and it will be relatively inexpensive and most importantly, it will be very, very reliable. When was the last time you had a regional mobile network outage? I’m not talking about where you had trouble getting signal in the black spot or a momentary drop out somewhere. I’m talking about the mobile network was actually down not working. For me it was July 2008 when the fibre optical cable was cut on the Gold Coast which affected Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast 15 years ago.

Historical article-  https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/sunshine-coast/optus-says-its-sorry-over-cut-cable/news-story/16edc73edc93e9eb884fd5d78b2a3d32

Then again Optus in Feb this year, had an outage on their mobile service in Northern NSW – “For more than a week, Optus customers in Copmanhurst, Whiteman Creek, Jackadgery and surrounding areas were unable to make, send, or receive phone calls or text messages, after the network experienced a major outage due to a hardware fault in a nearby tower.” Australian Rural and Regional News.

So, overall reliable over many years, but not completely.

The Starlink and 5G network also makes it far simpler to relocate from one office to another and not have to wait 3 weeks for an NBN technician to come out and connect you or find a fault, or suffer an outage because somebody unplugged the wrong cable when they were adding somebody else on to the NBN system.

The one place 5G falls down is that there simply isn’t enough coverage on the Sunshine Coast and won’t be for some time. Plus, the areas with the worst or no NBN are usually areas that don’t have 5G coverage.

Now this is where Starlink comes in, because as good as 5G is, it is limited to just a few areas and is unlikely to have complete coverage on the Sunshine Coast or QLD anytime soon. Starlink on the other hand already covers the entirety of the Australian continent from East to West and even parts of the ocean around Australia. That means, with a Starlink satellite dish and a clear line of sight to the stars, you can receive high speed internet virtually anywhere in Australia. All you need is a Starlink satellite system and a clear view of the southern sky.  You do not have to deal with any moblie outages, any local power failures, any cables dug up, and 1001 other variations that can result in you losing your internet on the NBN.

But there’s more…and that’s why I’m actually excited. I feel like Kevin the Super salesman on one of those home shopping channels, “but wait there’s more…” Starlink has now officially launched in Australia their new “In Motion Use” fully mobile Starlink High Gain Satellite Receivers that you can mount on the roof of your vehicle and reportedly “receive high speed internet wherever you go, as long as you have clear line of sight to the sky. And when I’m talking about high speed internet we’re talking 100 megabits per second download and 12 to 20 megabits upload which I want you to get the enormity all that.

This is seriously amazing progress! This could mean no need for a Satphone in outback Australia, you could use “wifi calling” on your normal mobile instead. If this new service works as promised it would  mean it might actually be possible that you are driving along the road in Outback Australia and you could, if you wished, be dictating an important letter using Office 365, while at the same time a fellow traveller could be watching a Netflix series, your kids could be on the iPads uploading highlights of the trip so far and your partner could be live streaming The View, as you drive along and this would not tax the limits of your Internet service. How outrageously good would that be! Of course we haven’t tested this out yet but as we speak a 4WD tagalong tour I know is getting ready to head out to Central Australia with this new Mobile Roaming system to see how well it works. Exciting times ahead!!

Shortly the same could be coming to a boat deck near you while sailing 30 or more nautical miles out to sea off the coast of QLD. Imagine that not just personal communication, but safety and rescue and Commercially and scientifically important data could be quicky streamed exchanged uploaded worldwide at high speed from any vessel fitted with the marine Starlink satellite dish.


I know we take things for granted but to me that is just mindboggling!

Here are some benefits that really appeal to me:

The fact that anyone with a mobile phone linked to their Starlink Wi-Fi network could talk to anyone in the world from literally anywhere in Australia with no satellite phone required. And the amazing thing is you don’t have to go through NBN or Telstra or Optus or an over the phone call centre for any of this.

You just buy the equipment online, it turns up fairly promptly and then you get it installed by a competent installer and pay the monthly price for the service. Now some of you might say well it’s expensive and yes it is! But it’s a unlimited service almost (limited to 1 TB a month) and it has one speed – high speed. And while there are glitches at times the service itself doesn’t appear to breakdown.

Further, it is independent of land based infrastructure (except obviously the satellite uplink transmission station) They have put a lot of money into putting those satellites into space so you’d expect it to be some sort of a premium price for that wouldn’t you? At $139 per month for residential, reminiscent of the early NBN plans and $174 for the traveller plan. I don’t know if you’ve ever hired a satellite phone, but I have – now that’s expensive at $18.00 a day and $1.30 per minute and it is phone and text only, no internet. Suddenly $174 a month looks pretty good.

And yes the business rate is also high, more geared for bigger businesses with that higher rate obviously, but keep in mind when you relocate your business with Starlink, you move the dish to the new location and plug it in and that’s it, you’re up and running! You don’t have to book umpteen months in advance to be told the NBN technician will come somewhere between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.  (Average wait for NBN installation on the Sunshine Coast is between 2-4 weeks!) and then when you finally are connected at the new site mysteriously for the first seven days it doesn’t work or a week after it’s working it stops, which is not an uncommon story! We had a recent NBN client who relocated – 4 weeks with no Internet! So, they had to run on a 4G mobile plan which was a challenge for a large company.

And for all those businesses you have been interrupted, disadvantaged and lost money and customers because their NBN Internet went down and the online services and apps would not work, I would suggest you seriously consider having Starlink as your main internet provider and NBN as your backup or vice versa as you can run them simultaneously so there is no delay on change over and if you place reasonable quality UPS (uninterrupted power supply battery backups) on your main equipment, main computers, on your Starlink modem and you’re VOIP phone system, other than the lights going out, you literally could keep working without external power, or at the very least you could answer phones and you could access your computers files programs and emails. For anyone who’s been caught with the system down for several hours in the middle of a business day, by about the 2nd hour you would give your eye tooth, no matter what it cost almost, if you could just get the internet back up and running!

Or would it be even better not to have it go down in the first place!  Business internet is critical and therefore a secondary service should be a standard requirement demanded by the business owners themselves.

So I hope I have communicated how important this technology change is and like everything, the more people using the service, the more change it will come down in price and the service will improve further and we will have an amazing extra bit of freedom with all our creature comforts as well.

Starlink have about 3580 satellites up there so far and the target is 12,000. Exciting times ahead.

Of course there’s always a plug and this is it : The Starlink Satellite installation really needs a professional installer. The traveller Starlink you set up each time you camp so it is DIY but the latest mobile RV High Gain Starlink panel that fits to the roof of your vehicle is best professionally installed.

If you want some help, we can advise on what parts to order direct from Starlink and when you receive it, call us on 54791999 to book in the install. If you want a good quality Starlink installation by a professional company give us a call.

Thanks for reading.