When Telstra announced their partnership with Starlink in the middle of last year it was a clear move to provide a strong reliable connectivity for regional Australia going forward. How do you test something that’s clearly targeted to regional and rural Australia when you live deep in the city? You handball the installation to your Brother’s place in regional NSW. Simple!

Of course if you head to the Telstra Satellite Internet page you can enter pretty much any address in Australia for a single dwelling and get a tick that the service is available to you, but honestly, why on earth are you getting this is you have any fixed-line NBN service available? You’d have to have the worst of the worst FTTN and not be eligible for the NBN Fibre Upgrade to even consider that.

Telstra Smart Modem and StarLink receiver

However, in regional Australia it’s a different story. Most people who live outside of “town” have two options – NBN Satellite, or NBN Fixed Wireless. NBN Satellite has improved a lot, but is still a distant satellite connection meaning shocking latency is it’s core downfall.

NBN Fixed Wireless (FW) has also improved no end, and will continue to with plans to lift FW speeds to 100mbps – but right now, you’re looking at 50Mbps.

Telstra Satellite Internet has expected speeds of 50Mbps downloads and 10Mbps uploads. Core to the decision to get this Telstra Satellite Internet is likely to be the whole package that it offers.

You see, you can get Starlink direct from Elon for the same $599 up front price (the cost of the Satellite Dish), and you’ll pay $139 per month for high-speed internet access. I’ve tested Starlink and reliably was able to get speeds of 150+ Mbps, often over 200Mbps and some users do report speeds over 300Mbps.

Starlink satellite receiver alongside NBN Fixed Wireless Receiver

With Telstra Satellite Internet you get the exact same dish, for the same up-front price ($599), but you get a limit on the speed.

The upside is you get the Telstra Smart Modem to provide you with WiFi in your home. That Smart Modem also offers multiple LAN ports, a 4G SIM backup and VOIP phone line ports.

And a phone line is included as part of the monthly $125 plan with Telstra. On that line you cna make unlimited local, national, mobile and 13 calls, PLUS 30 minutes of international calls to anywhere in the world!

Why is this important?

In areas of regional Australia where Mobile service is tough to get, Aussies still rely on their landline phones. And all that copper rolling around the country is aging – not gracefully. So if someone builds a new home in remote Australia, Telstra is obligated by Government act, to provide a phone line to them. This new service means they are able to offer a fully wireless solution that offers both internet and home landline.

The Internet for many regional Australians – NBN Fixed Wireless

My Brother Andrew lives on the outskirts of the NSW regional town of Young – the beautiful Cherry Capital of Australia. His property is not covered by fixed-line broadband, so until now has been using NBN Fixed Wireless. That connection on his roof is a direct link from his home to the tower, and provides speeds between 40 and 50Mbps. No real complaints about how well that works – at all. If it’s just internet you need and you’re in a Fixed Wireless zone – frankly I’d be sticking with that – the speeds are fine, and will improve. Plus, you’re probably paying just over half what you’ll need to pay for Telstra’s Satellite Internet.

Back to the announcement of Telstra’s Starlink partnership, Telstra’s CEO Vicki Brady said “What will set our offer apart is the addition of Telstra voice service, a professional install option and the ability to get local help with your set up if needed.

There isn’t actually a lot of mention of setup/installation support on the Telstra website. When our Starlink dish arrived, it was in a box, like any other Starlink, with an additional Telstra box (the Smart Modem) included.

Anyone who’s seen a Starlink satellite dish knows it’s a great looking unit, but hardly a permanent solution without any additional accessories.

For someone keen for this to be their permanent solution you are best to speak to Telstra about mounting options, and have them provide those services – I expect this will come at an additional cost.

Once mounted on the roof, the setup was a breeze and internet started blazing.

In simple terms, the speed is as advertised.

What has surprised us most is actually not the Starlink service, but the Telstra add-on to it.

The Telstra Smart Modem pumping out WiFi is doing a cracking job. A good 40m from the dwelling out in the backyard we still got 45Mbps downloads, strong speeds at a distance.

Add to that the landline phone and for many people, that’s going to play a big part in justifying the $125 price. If you’re still paying separately for a phone line the cost of Internet and Phone together might just add up to a number very close to this price.

  • Cheaper than Starlink direct
  • Home Phone included
  • 4G Backup
  • Telstra Billing means Telstra Plus points etc
  • Direct Telstra Support
  • Slower Speeds than Starlink direct
  • Higher price than NBN Internet
  • 4G backup only works if you’re in a 4G area

Should you buy Telstra Satellite Internet?

While it’s a fantastic service, it’s not for everyone. Firstly, in the city – find a better option, 4G/5G Internet if NBN isn’t for you. But if you’re in a regional area, it’s about what you’re paying for now, and what you need.

If you’re paying for internet and phone separately then Telstra’s Satellite Internet might just work out to be a good deal compared.

The inclusion of unlimited calls within Australia means it’s a no brainer for many people, especially those without mobile service at home. Remember if you’ve got WiFi at home, your mobile will work using WiFi Calling too.

Not everyone needs the crazy speeds of Starlink, so a 50Mbps service from Telstra might be perfectly adequate, and the WiFi from the Telstra Smart Modem is pretty impressive to boot.

Bottom line, its very much a case-by-case scenario, but what Telstra has done here is give themselves a strong offering nationally as the copper network ages, and our demands for communications increase.

Well worth consideration.