In a comparison of high-speed internet service providers, Starlink vs. Google Fiber is a worthy comparison.
Google Fiber isn’t a new technology.
Starlink is steadily becoming a preferred internet service provider in areas where Google Fiber is not readily available.
Both of these providers rely on different technologies.
Fiber optic cables have the edge over satellite internet in all matters of speed.
So how does Google Fiber vs. Starlink compare? We’re breaking down these internet providers to make your choices easier.
Table of Contents
- Starlink Background Information
- Google Fiber Background Information
- Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Cost
- Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Equipment & Installation
- Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Speed & Latency
- Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Coverage
- Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Customer Service
- Google Fiber vs. Starlink Infrastructure and Expansion Plans
- Google Fiber vs. Starlink: Which is Better For You?
- Is Fiber Internet better than Satellite?
- Final Thoughts
Starlink Background Information
Space X describes Starlink as a satellite internet constellation. The project launched in 2019 to provide speedy internet access to people in remote regions.
Starlink has largely been successful, with a pending waiting list in the hundreds of thousands.
Currently, it has more than 4500 satellites in orbit catering to its subscriber base.
Google Fiber Background Information
The Google services
Google Fiber launched in 2010 as a separate entity under the parent company, Alphabet.
In 2015, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt doubled the company’s commitment to providing TV and internet services.
In 2012, Google Fiber had over 450000 subscribers to its broadband service alone.
Despite being in service longer, Google Fiber appears less popular than Starlink.
Could Google Fiber’s specs be the reason for the slower uptake? Let’s run a comparative analysis.
Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Cost
Starlink offers four plans at varying costs. Its most common plan is Starlink Residential which retails at $99 monthly.
Starlink’s Business Plan costs $500. Starlink’s other plans, Maritime and ROAM, cost $250 and $135, respectively.
Comparatively, Google Fiber’s most available plan — 1 Gig — retails at $70 monthly, while Google Fiber’s 2 Gig Plan costs $100.
Its other plans — 5 Gig and 8 Gig — are priced at $125 and $150, respectively.
The provider also has a Webplass plan for areas that don’t support gigabit speeds.
The Webpass plan costs $70 or $63 monthly if you commit to a yearly contract.
Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Equipment & Installation
Fiber optic cables in the ground
You should also consider the cost of equipment and labor before settling for Starlink or Google Fiber.
A Starlink Residential CGNAT-enabled kit will cost you a one-off fee of $599. You can fork up to $2500 for Starlink Business or Starlink Maritime.
On the other hand, Google Fiber charges between $500 and $1000 for equipment. The self-install kit includes a network box(router), power adaptor cord, and Ethernet cables.
While you can self-install both providers’ kits, you can choose the professional installation that will cost you extra.
Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Speed & Latency
Speed-wise, fiber cable internet runs rings around satellite internet. Even with a service as reliable as Starlink, the speed does not match fiber optic speeds.
Starlink Residential averages between 50-150 Mbps. Most areas will receive 100 Mbps when the network is not congested during off-peak hours.
Starlink Residential still gets stable speeds below 120 Mbps even when the network is busy.
Starlink Business users get higher speeds between 150 Mbps and 500 Mbps, while Starlink RV users get up to 50 Mbps on the road.
Google Fiber offers higher speeds. Its 1 Gig plan gives users 1Gbps symmetrical speed.
If you need faster speeds, subscribe to the 2 Gig plan that offers downloads at 2 Gbps and uploads at 1 Gbps.
Moreover, you get up to 700 Mbps Wi-Fi speeds when you connect with Google’s Wi-Fi 6 router.
There’s a catch for Google Fiber’s speeds, though.
See, the rates above are advertised speeds. User tests show much slower speeds.
It is common to get lower speeds than what is advertised. Subscriber density in certain areas contributes to internet speed performance.
Speed tests by Google Fiber subscribers in some cities show between 55 and 880 Mbps, even for the 2 Gig plan.
Internet concept of latency
Despite having great download and upload speeds, one more speed-related issue, latency, could influence your choice.
Starlink’s latency bounces between 40-80ms. And that is where Google Fiber blows Starlink out of the water.
Google Fiber’s advertised latency is below 1 ms. However, some users in busy areas have complained about higher latency between 25-40ms.
Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Coverage
Satellite internet in a busy city
If Google Fiber is faster, why isn’t it in more areas?
For context, Google Fiber is available only in some places in major cities and towns.
An FCC report states that Google Fiber only caters to 1% of the US population.
Since Google launched the service, they have advanced slowly into metropolitan areas, especially around Midwest US.
Starlink seems to know its preferred consumers. The latest numbers show it has a global presence in over 54 countries.
It covers most areas in the US that Google Fiber hasn’t even mapped out for expansion.
Furthermore, Starlink has a waiting list.
Hint: You can use Starlink’s Best Effort Service as you wait for faster Starlink Residential service.
Starlink Vs. Google Fiber Customer Service
Starlink might beat Google Fiber in numbers, but Google Fiber arguably has a better customer service presence than Starlink.
If you want to contact Starlink about a problem with the service, you can only raise a ticket on its app. Starlink customer support will get back to you within 72 hours.
However, a 72-hour time window might be too long for service as vital as the Internet.
Starlink does not have any phone numbers to contact customer support.
On the other hand, Google Fiber has text, email, and phone support to meet client needs.
Google Fiber vs. Starlink Infrastructure and Expansion Plans
Google Fiber relies on fiber optic cables to relay internet to homes.
Comparatively, Starlink uses low-earth orbit satellites and ground stations.
Starlink’s placement of the satellites gives it an advantage over most of its satellite internet competitors. Its ultimate goal is to have 30000 satellites in orbit.
These satellites will improve speed, reduce latency and boost global coverage.
Also, Space X has announced plans to go into cell phone services in 2023.
Google Fiber’s expansion is slow yet steady. It has a selective process before identifying a city to expand its services.
Understandably, laying miles of fiber optic cable is associated with high costs.
However, it remains committed to providing fast, symmetrical speeds with its 5 and 8 Gig plans.
Google Fiber vs. Starlink: Which is Better For You?
At current advertised speeds, you’d be excused for leaning more toward Google Fiber.
Its symmetrical speeds make it a promising service for high-speed, minimal-latency activities such as responsive gaming and video conferencing.
Google Fiber is testing a 20 Gbps program in Tennessee that would make it one of the fastest services in the US.
However, it’s limited to high-traffic metropolitan areas. Its positioning makes it prone to erratic speeds and inaccessibility to people in remote areas.
Starlink is better for a reliable, affordable service in a low-coverage area. Starlink Residential also comes with the option to travel with it.
The portability option attracts an additional fee, yet it’s highly convenient for remote work.
We recommend using Starlink. It has better coverage and a much faster expansion schedule.
Is Fiber Internet better than Satellite?
By most metrics, fiber internet is better than satellite. It has a solid infrastructure and remains reliable in harsh weather conditions.
Satellite internet is vulnerable to weather changes such as extreme wind and snow.
Also, fiber internet has a broader network.
In theory, Google Fiber is a superior internet provider. However, it is currently limited in coverage.
Also, its advertised speeds are subject to population density. Starlink has a better record, with users reporting reliable coverage.