Hey friend! Looking for the best internet provider for your home? With more of our work and entertainment going online, having fast and reliable internet is pretty crucial these days.
Two big names in internet service are Starlink and Comcast Xfinity. They take very different approaches when it comes to delivering access. I wanted to dig into the details on both providers to see how they compare.
In this guide, I’ll be breaking down the differences between Starlink and Xfinity when it comes to speed, reliability, coverage, pricing, and more. By the end, you’ll have all the info you need to decide which internet provider is right for your home.
Speed and Performance
We all want lightning fast internet these days, whether for streaming 4K movies or video chatting without lag. So how do Starlink and Xfinity compare when it comes to download and upload speeds?
Starlink Internet Speeds
Starlink says its satellite internet service can deliver download speeds between 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps, with latency as low as 20ms. But user-reported speeds vary quite a bit.
According to a study by Ookla Speedtest, the median Starlink download speed is about 90 Mbps in the US as of Q3 2022. However, some users see over 200 Mbps at times, while others report less than 50 Mbps during peak congestion.
Using satellites in low Earth orbit (just 340 miles high), Starlink achieves much lower latency than old satellite internet services. This makes activities like online gaming, video calls, and voice chats run more smoothly.
For example, Starlink‘s latency is around 45ms, compared to 600ms for satellite competitor Viasat. Lower latency = less lag!
However, Starlink speeds can fluctuate when satellites shift position or during heavy rain/snowstorms. Brief 1-2 minute outages are also possible as satellites move overhead.
Xfinity Internet Speeds
Xfinity offers a wide selection of speed tiers, ranging from 50 Mbps plans up to 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) fiber optic plans.
Your exact download and upload speeds will vary not just based on the plan, but also whether your connection runs over coaxial cable versus fiber lines.
According to FCC data, Xfinity cable customers typically get around 87% of the advertised speed during peak hours. So on their 200 Mbps plan, you‘ll likely see real-world speeds of about 174 Mbps.
Their gigabit fiber optic service delivers speeds up to 1 Gbps download and 35 Mbps upload. Latency on fiber is also extremely low, resulting in very responsive internet.
Xfinity internet speeds stay very consistent day-to-day since service is delivered over wired network connections. Congestion on local network nodes can occasionally cause some variability.
When it comes to speed consistency, Xfinity has a slight edge over Starlink. Wired networks tend to deliver more stable speeds versus satellite internet.
However, Starlink still provides faster speeds than old satellite services from HughesNet and Viasat in most cases. User tests show Starlink achieving 3X higher download speeds on average.
For those with access to Xfinity‘s gigabit fiber service, max speeds will surely be greater than what Starlink can offer currently. But Starlink provides solid performance compared to Xfinity‘s lower and mid-tier cable plans.
Availability and Coverage Area
Before choosing an internet provider, you’ll of course need to verify they offer service in your location. Satellite, cable TV, and fiber optic networks all have different coverage footprints.
Where Starlink Is Available
One of Starlink’s biggest perks is the ability to provide high-speed internet access in rural and remote areas. As long as you have a clear view of the sky, you can likely get Starlink.
Starlink is currently available across much of the northern U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and select coastal regions of South America.
There is also limited coverage in southern U.S. states, with an estimated 80% of Americans having access as of October 2022 according to Starlink.
SpaceX continues to launch new satellites to expand coverage worldwide, with the goal of near-global coverage by sometime in 2023. You can check availability at your specific address by entering your zip code on Starlink‘s website.
Where Xfinity Service Is Available
Xfinity has an expansive network of cable TV and fiber optic lines across 40 states, but availability is generally limited to major population centers like cities, suburbs, and towns.
According to the company, Xfinity reaches over 31 million customer locations across the U.S. The broadest availability is across the eastern states, but coverage exists in pockets across the Midwest and West too.
Those living in rural areas outside of Xfinity‘s service range likely can‘t get their internet. So for these remote regions, Starlink may be the only high-speed option.
You can check for Xfinity service at your address by typing in your zip on their website.
When it comes to rural internet access, Starlink has a major advantage, while Xfinity is primarily focused on cities, suburbs, and towns.
If you live in an urban or suburban region, chances are good that Xfinity offers cable TV or fiber internet in your area. According to Xfinity, they cover over 91% of U.S. homes with broadband speeds of 25+ Mbps.
But for those in the country outside Xfinity‘s range, Starlink’s satellite service currently provides the fastest rural internet. Just be sure to verify your address is in their active coverage area.
Equipment and Installation
Getting internet installed in your home requires some specific networking equipment. Let’s look at what you‘ll need to get set up with Starlink vs Xfinity.
To connect to Starlink‘s satellites in orbit, you‘ll need to install their rectangular dish antenna outside with a clear view of the sky. The Starlink Kit includes:
- Satellite dish
- WiFi router
- Power supply
- Mounting tripod
- 150 foot cable
Professional installation by a certified electrician or contractor is recommended by Starlink, but not absolutely required. You can install the satellite dish, router, and cables yourself following their video instructions if you‘re pretty handy.
The setup process takes 1-2 hours typically whether you DIY or hire an installer. The satellite dish connects wirelessly to the router inside your home to provide WiFi throughout.
To connect to Xfinity‘s service, you need both an internet modem and a wireless router inside your home. These devices are installed on the existing cable lines or fiber optic lines run by Xfinity.
If fiber optic internet is available at your address, Xfinity will run the fiber line from their nearby hub facility to your home’s ONT box. This connects to your WiFi router and modem setup indoors.
Xfinity gives you the option to either have a pro handle the installation, or self-install your equipment if you’re tech-savvy. Their quick setup gets you connected in no time either way.
As you can see, Starlink requires a more complex setup with the satellite dish mounted outside and specialized router. Xfinity works with any standard cable modem and WiFi router you may already own.
Starlink‘s equipment costs more upfront at $599 for the kit. With Xfinity, you can either rent a modem/router from them for $14/month, or purchase your own compatible equipment to avoid fees.
Pricing and Fees
Another big factor for choosing an internet provider is the monthly cost. Let‘s break down what to expect when it comes to pricing with Starlink vs Xfinity.
Starlink costs $599 upfront for the equipment kit, plus $110 per month for the internet service itself. Tax and shipping is included in those prices.
Some key things to note about Starlink‘s pricing:
- No contracts required and you can pause or cancel anytime
- Taxes and fees are included in the $110 monthly cost
- No data caps or overage fees
- One single tier of service for all customers
Whether you live right in a coverage zone or at the edge, everyone gets access to the full network capacity regardless of location. Higher priority options are coming in the future for customers like first responders.
Xfinity Internet Pricing
Xfinity pricing varies more than Starlink since they offer several speed tiers. Monthly fees typically range from:
- $29.99/month for 50 Mbps speeds
- $39.99/month for 200 Mbps
- $79.99/month for 1 Gbps fiber optic service
However, expect an extra $10-20 per month in equipment rental, taxes, broadcast TV fees, and other charges. Most plans require 1-2 year contracts to get the best rates.
Unlimited data is included, but going over 1.2 TB can incur overage fees up to $100 monthly. Standalone internet packages start at $19.99 for 25 Mbps speeds as well.
Xfinity provides more flexibility with speed tiers and contract terms. Their lowest speed plans cost about 1/3 the monthly fee of Starlink.
But Starlink offers a fixed $110 per month with no contracts or data caps. For rural users without access to Xfinity, Starlink provides impressively fast speeds at a reasonable price compared to old satellite internet.
Reliability and Uptime
Having steady internet access is super important these days. Frequent drops or laggy connections can ruin online experiences, especially for streaming and gaming.
Let‘s see how Starlink and Xfinity compare when it comes to network uptime and reliability.
Starlink manages approximately 99% uptime each month per customer reports. That means only about 1-2% of connectivity is lost throughout an average month.
Severe weather like heavy rain, snow, or wind can interrupt Starlink‘s signals and cause short outages. Most weather-related disruptions last just 1-5 minutes before satellite connections are restored.
Starlink is still expanding satellite coverage worldwide, which can lead to periodic service drops in newly activated areas. But as the satellite network build-out continues, reliability issues are becoming less common.
On both cable TV and fiber optic networks, Xfinity maintains at least 99% uptime outside of major outages from storms or damage. Only brief, occasional disruptions typically happen.
Since service is delivered over wired lines, it‘s rarely affected by environmental factors. The most common reliability issues stem from damaged cables or hardware failures.
Proactive network maintenance and rapid response teams help minimize downtime events under Xfinity‘s control. They also have redundancy in place to reroute traffic when nodes go down.
Starlink offers satellite internet service that‘s on par with top cable providers when it comes to monthly uptime—around 99% availability is standard.
Xfinity also maintains excellent availability across both their cable TV and fiber networks. Their wired infrastructure makes service less prone to environmental disruptions overall.
Customer Service and Support
Dealing with internet issues is never fun. Good customer service can help get you back online quickly. Here‘s how Starlink and Xfinity‘s support options compare.
Starlink Customer Service
Currently, Starlink offers customer assistance through:
- Online support ticketing system
- Community support forums
- Searchable knowledgebase articles
Live phone support is not available at this time—you have to open a ticket for technical issues, billing questions, or other topics. According to users, response time varies from same-day for urgent issues to around 3 business days depending on request volume.
The community forums also provide tips and feedback from other Starlink customers who can share their experiences.
Xfinity Customer Service
Xfinity provides more ways to get assistance:
- 24/7 customer support by phone
- Live online chat
- Frequently asked questions
- User forums
- In-person at Xfinity stores
Support is available 24/7 by phone or chat, which is perfect when you need urgent help. Average wait times are around 10-15 minutes. You can also visit an Xfinity store or service center for hands-on assistance.
Xfinity clearly offers more ways to reach a live service rep by phone or online chat when you need immediate help.
With Starlink, their email-based ticketing system means waiting up to 3 days for assistance in some cases. But their knowledgebase and forums do provide helpful self-service resources.
Final Verdict: Key Takeaways
When comparing Starlink vs Xfinity side by side, both internet providers have their pros and cons. Here are some of the key points I took away:
- Starlink offers high-speed satellite internet for rural areas unserved by cable/fiber
- Xfinity has wider coverage focused on cities and suburbs with infrastructure
- Starlink’s equipment fee is high, but no contracts required
- Xfinity has affordable monthly fees but 1-2 year contracts
- Xfinity edges out Starlink for speed consistency and uptime
- But Starlink reliability is still solid—around 99% per month
For urban residents with access to cable or fiber internet, Xfinity delivers fast speeds at competitive pricing. However, Starlink is currently the top option for rural users without access to wired broadband providers.
Both Starlink and Xfinity continue to expand their capabilities and coverage areas. Starlink is launching thousands more low Earth orbit satellites. And Xfinity is building out fiber optic networks across their service regions.
At the end of the day, what internet provider is best comes down to your specific needs and location. But hopefully breaking down the pros and cons of Starlink vs Xfinity gives you the information you need to decide! Let me know if you have any other questions.