What about Starlink?

On April 5th, there was a Spectrum outage. It started at 6pm, lasted until 8, and took out service to most of Maine:


During the outage, I remember being worried about what I would have done if this had happened during the day when I had work and my kids were doing remote school because of COVID 19. My cell phone doesn’t work inside most of my house and I was completely cut off from the world unless I stood in a specific place. I had been considering Starlink ever since I had heard about it, and this outage was the last excuse I needed to give it a try. I would be able to use it at least as a backup for Spectrum, if not switch over entirely. I could evaluate it and report my findings.

Fast forward 6 months to October 6th, and I finally got an email that my order for Starlink Beta was ready. I confirmed the order and thought about where to put it once it arrives. I have a lot of trees around, and I know it needs a view of the northern sky. This weekend, while I had my ladder out to clean my gutters, I used the Starlink app to check for obstructions.

Starlink for Android:
Starlink for iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/starlink/id1537177988

The app uses the camera and other sensors in your phone to look at the sky around you. Here is what I found:


The above screenshot is from the best location I found from my roof. The red area is where my trees will be blocking the Starlink dish from the satellites. The app predicts it will lose signal every 43 seconds. I took a 360 degree photo from this point so that everyone can see what it looks like from there.


When I first confirmed my order, the Starlink dish was expected to ship around October 29 to November 4th. Now it is expected to ship November 11th to 17th. Unfortunately, this won’t allow me to get it installed and get it evaluated before the election. However, I will remind everyone that the vote is only to authorize the Select Board to take out the bond if it is shown to not be economically feasible. If Starlink is a viable solution for everyone who needs broadband internet, the Select Board can scrap the project. If the question passes, I will make the commitment to keep posting updates about my experience with Starlink and keep track of the expenses I incur if I need to install a tower or anything to get it to operate better. I hope that my experiences with Starlink can help people decide if the municipal fiber project would be needed or not.

Link to all of my photos/screenshots from roof site search: https://photos.app.goo.gl/uwDTrP6WgswHvVZD9

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