How Does Starlink Compare to Cable Internet – A Detailed Comparison

How Does Starlink Compare to Cable Internet ? With the evolution of remote working and distance learning, high-speed internet has become an essential service for individuals and enterprises. 

For many households and companies, cable internet has long been the preferred choice, but Starlink has lately entered the market. 

Starlink uses a constellation of satellites orbiting the Earth to provide high-speed internet to even the most remote locations.

 But how does Starlink compare to cable internet? This article discusses Starlink and cable internet speed, reliability, and costs, to help you decide which suits your needs.

Table of Contents

Starlink is a satellite-based internet provider established by SpaceX. It seeks to offer fast internet access employing a constellation of small satellites placed in low Earth orbit.

These satellites interact with each other via laser links, generating an interconnected system connection for fast internet.

Speeds are also enhanced by routing internet signals through different satellites based on the user’s location.

Users require a small satellite dish or antenna positioned within a clear sky view to connect to Starlink’s internet.

The dish’s antenna connects with the closest Starlink satellite, relaying the signal to the network before reaching a ground station.

Unlike conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink satellites occupy a low Earth orbit, which results in low latency.

Starlink Dish

Starlink Dish

How Cable Internet Works?

Cable internet is a fast connection provided via the same coaxial lines deployed for distributing cable television.

An internet service provider—who maintains a network of cables and other equipment—typically offers the service.

Data is transmitted across the coaxial wires using analog and digital signals. A fiber-optic wire carries the signal from the ISP’s data center to a nearby neighborhood.

This location sends the signal to other residences and companies through coaxial lines.

Customers must first sign up for the service and set up a cable modem to use cable internet.

The coaxial cable connects to a cable modem, transforming the signal into a format accessible by computers and other devices.

Users can connect a router to the modem’s Ethernet port to enable wireless device connectivity. 

Internet Cables

Internet Cables

Here is a comparison between the two internet services:


Starlink needs hardware, which sells for $599 to $2,500, depending on whether it’s home or business. In addition, there is a monthly subscription charge for the internet service, which ranges from $110 to $500.

This cost is rather high compared to cable internet, which normally needs a cable modem. Users can pay a monthly charge to rent a cable modem or $50 to $100 to buy one.

The monthly cable differs depending on the ISP and the chosen package, but it’s often less than $100.


Starlink offers average speeds of 100-300 Mbps, which is adequate for most internet applications.

However, actual speeds might vary based on the network traffic in the area and other factors, such as weather conditions.

Additionally, interference from other satellites may affect the speed and dependability of the service.

Contrarily, cable internet can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps depending on the package chosen and the ISP.

Since the network is resistant to weather-related disruption, cable internet speeds are typically more stable and dependable than satellite internet.

However, the number of users in the region, especially during high demand, might impact cable internet speeds.

Power Consumption

The phased-array antennae require an additional 10 watts, whereas the Starlink user terminal requires an average of 100 watts.

It means that, depending on usage, the overall power consumption of Starlink can be somewhere between 110 and 210 watts.

In contrast, cable internet needs a modem that uses less energy than Starlink’s equipment. A cable modem uses 10 to 15 watts, much less power than Starlink equipment.

Data caps

Since Starlink currently has data caps, customers can utilize as much internet as they require without incurring additional costs.

However, SpaceX may provide customers who have used fewer data priority access to avoid network congestion.

Customers who utilize more data might encounter slower speeds during heavy network congestion.

In contrast, cable internet frequently has monthly data caps restricting usage based on the purchased plan and the ISP.

Users may incur extra charges or experience a slower connection if they exceed their monthly data cap.

However, ISPs occasionally provide plans with unlimited data, although these packages are often more expensive.


Due to the distance data must travel, the Starlink satellite-based network may have higher latency than cable internet. The delay is about 20 to 40 milliseconds.

The data travels from the user’s terminal, satellite, ground station, and target server.

Although typical internet usage functions appropriately with this latency, real-time activities, such as online gaming or video conferencing, might not.

On the other hand, since the data travel a shorter distance over cable, it typically has lower latency than Starlink.

The data only requires moving through cables underground or overhead wires, leading to lower latency of 5-20 milliseconds.

Cable internet is ideal for real-time applications that need low latency.

Starlink’s setup procedure entails setting up a satellite dish and user terminal, requiring an unobstructed sky view.

Users must mount the terminal on a tripod or a roof, with the satellite dish pointing toward the sky.

While the installation is easy, it takes several hours and might call for professional installation in certain instances.

On the flip side, installing cable internet typically involves less work. An ISP usually dispatches a technician to install a cable modem and set up the connection.

The modem may occasionally be self-installable, which can save time and money.

LAN network installation

LAN network installation

Since Starlink is a satellite-based internet service, users can access it anywhere.

The service is continually extending its coverage area as it launches more satellites.

However, weather conditions, including heavy rain and snow, can compromise its dependability.

Cable internet is typically more dependable because the signal does not travel far and is not impacted by the weather.

But, given that its infrastructure primarily serves urban centers, it might not be easily accessible in rural areas.

Pros & Cons

StarlinkAvailable in rural and remote areas Relatively low latency data capsEasy to installAffected by weather conditions, higher costsNetwork congestion during peak times
CableSpeedy and reliable Relatively lower costs Lower latencyLimited availability in rural or remote areas with data capsRequires professional installation 

Starlink provides customer support via email and a dedicated phone line. Customers can also manage their accounts and contact support through the company’s website and the provided app.

Due to the increased demand for this service, there may be some delays in customer care response times.

Customers can often contact cable internet providers by phone, email, or chat.

Additionally, most cable internet companies have physical locations where customers can receive in-person support.

If you reside in a rural or isolated place, Starlink might be your only choice for fast speeds internet service.

While it may not be as fast as cable, it has relatively low latency and does not have data caps.

Cable internet might be more dependable and affordable if you live in an urban or suburban location.

While both can offer high-speed internet connection, cable internet can be the better option if you need extremely fast internet.

Global network

Global network


Both cable internet and Starlink have their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, deciding between Starlink and cable internet comes down to a person’s demands, location, budget, and other considerations.

Making an informed choice requires reading reviews and considering your location, required speed, spending limit, and other variables.