Starlink provides broadband-like internet speeds in the middle of the Kalahari Desert

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet was recently tested in one of the most desolate places on Earth, and it proved to be more than capable in providing internet speeds that rival traditional broadband offerings.

The tests were conducted during a visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a cross-border game reserve in the southern part of the Kalahari in southern Africa, by Quick Connect Wireless. The company conducted a thorough four-day test of their Starlink connection, including during the night, by setting up the kit and putting it through its paces at Tweerivieren, Nossob, and Kalahari Tent camps.

These camps are in such isolated areas that even cellular connectivity is largely unavailable (and even when it is the connection is slow and unreliable), let alone any broadband internet service. Despite this, the company was able to setup Starlink at each location and achieve download speeds of up to 167Mbps and upload speeds of 11.8Mbps, according to a screenshot of the Ookla Speedtest shared with MyBroadband.

That kind of download speed is more than sufficient for most online activities, including streaming high-definition video content, online gaming, and downloading large files quickly. However, due to the absence of any Starlink ground stations in or around Southern Africa, the connection’s ping registered at a relatively high 182ms, which would make online gaming difficult.

Not only were the download speeds fast, but the stability of the Starlink satellite internet connection was also impressive. According to the company they registered just 6 seconds of no connectivity during a 18-minute session, as indicated by the Starlink mobile app.

Starlink is still unavailable in most of Africa, with SpaceX having only launched the service in Nigeria and Rwanda. The company has been granted a license to operate Starlink in Mozambique, and according to the Starlink availability map, the service should launch in Q2 2023.

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