Millions lack broadband at a time when they must have it. Now what?
A lot of people in the US still don't have access to anything, you'd really consider broadband.
And that's compounded by the fact that we're entering an era and just have during the pandemic, when broadband is truly essential.
We've been saying that for a long time.
Now, nobody's kidding when they say that and yet we have these millions of homes that are broadband in pens or even if they're not, they'd like some more choices in the mark.
I've got two cnet experts who know two of my colleagues, Rick Broida and John Camera here.
Rick recently did a piece about the new T Mobile 5g To the premise that's a new way of using cellular connectivity that many people are not aware of yet, as opposed to on phones.
And john Kim got an early look at starlink.
This is the Ilan musk back system that uses satellite.
Satellite Internet in itself is not new.
But it was never something you loved unless it was your only choice that may now be changing.
So let me start I'm gonna run these down both of you and kind of do a mental checklist of how they stack up break.
Let me stack well I'll start with you What kind of performance does T-Mobile 5G to the premise offer or promise?
T-Mobile promises that for some customers, it's going to be as much as a hundred megabits per second Download speeds and for everyone else at a minimum 25, Those numbers might not mean anything to a lot of people.
But if you're getting 25 or better, that means you're pretty much able to do everything you want to do at home, including like streaming 4k video and zoom calls and things like that.
So in my experience, I'm there.
I'm getting On average about 50 megabits per second downstream.
It fluctuates quite a bit, but it's been plenty good enough for my needs.
Now, John, let's compare that to Starlink.
What do they say they'll give you and what did you actually say?
Starlink promises about 50 to 150 megabits a second, and the kicker is, There is low latency.
So they're promising anywhere between 30 to 50 milliseconds meaning this is how fast a ping is pretty much from your computer to the data center and coming back and that's it's pretty fast and it's fast enough for you to gain so that's their promise.
And I've been experiencing about 75 megabits a second.
Download speeds with a Millis with latency about 30 milliseconds.
So it is living up to its standard.
So Alright, so as we check off our specs here, both are good, but on the first round, it's advantage Starlink.
It looks like in terms of little more bandwidth, both promised and real world.
And also the low latency is interesting because a lot of people don't think about it.
Until they start to do some new things online that they didn't do before and the one you point out is gaming and the one that is still coming as augmented reality and another one coming after that that isn't necessarily a consumer thing.
Connected automobiles that need low latency.
So that's what the latency thing is all about.
As john describes, Rick, john was pointing out in his piece that starlink has big plans to increase their speeds going forward.
Is T Mobile kind of where they're going to be is that your take
T mobile's big thing, of course is that this is 5g.
So you know the potentially the sky's the limit?
[LAUGH] But the and so we may well see speeds start to increase as more towers become available and the infrastructure gets a little more robust, but at the moment, again, I feel like this is very new territory.
And so you know, one customer might have really good performance, someone right down the street from them might not have such great performance.
So it's really just kind of a waiting game right now.
That's interesting because as I understand anyway the stood the starlink system is much more of an even blanket that allows people who as long as they have a view of the of the sky and john went and did a good job of showing how you got to get that right and it made a difference, john, as you moved your antenna around Even within your apartment area outside you moved it a few feet as I recall and it did wonders for the connectivity.
You wanna make sure you have a clear view of the sky.
You can't just places and you know have a roof hanging over which I did.
So I took it out to my parking lot to make sure had a clear view of the sky.
And even then at first for me since it's still in beta, I was still going through some connection issues.
So I waited for all the kinks to work out So after a few days I took it out to Mount Diablo which they don't recommend just yet cuz it's not promised but I took it up to the mountains and it worked flawlessly.
I mean I was getting over 100 megabits a second and I was literally gaming.
So that right there is a proof that you do have some sensitivity around the setup on both of these as you point out Rick 5g.
It's a patchy thing in the terrain of the built world.
And then John has you found nothing beats getting up high and clear in line of sight to those satellites that are prowling overhead.
Now people are asking Okay, I got an idea of the speed.
The first thing we got to know the next thing you have to know is what's it cost?
So Rick, what's the price?
How would you describe the pricing around T Mobile 5g.
During the pilot programme?
It was the was my inner cheapskate that was really excited about this because T Mobile was offering this for a flat $50 a month no taxes, no fees, no overages, none of the usual stuff that kind of goes along with with the T Mobile cell phones.
But that is no more they have since raised the rate to $60 a month.
Now I'm grandfathered in so I get to keep my $50 rate but It is now 60 bucks a month flat rate, no taxes, nothing extra and you get the gateway as part of that.
So I still consider it a really good deal, especially if you live someplace where there are not a lot of choices, and you do not really have the option of even negotiating all that much to get a better deal.
If you're paying 70, 80, 90 $100 a month just for internet, here comes T Mobile that's unlimited for 60 bucks a month.
That's pretty good.
So that's an unlimited data plan there.
They don't have any caps or anything on that?
It's not like unlimited up to a certain point and then they're gonna start to throttle you.
It's Fully unlimited high speed all the way I have never encountered any kinda throttling or slowdowns or anything like that
Turn to you, John, what's the price on starlink
It's still in beta.
So if you still want to order it, you have to get in line you have to preorder it, but there is a high cost to get into it.
So you have to pay 499 For the antenna, and the gateway router and everything else, so there's a high cost just to get into it, but it's $99 A month after.
So it's not too bad and there are no contract, no fees or that's it.
Let's talk about how the install goes.
So Rick, when this This thing arrives, this router I guess.
It's a different kind of router but in the end, it's basically a router.
How was the setup for T-Mobile?
For the most part, it was very straightforward, very easy.
The gateway, the modem, looks like a little silver trashcan.
And so you take this thing out of the box, you plug it in, you install the T-Mobile home internet app.
App on your phone, go through a few connection, setup procedures and you're pretty much good to go.
Now I did encounter a few hiccups along the way that I just again attribute to this being a very new service but for the most part, it's pretty plug and play.
And again, this is a wireless thing much like setting up a phone so it's not like you even have to Call in and have them set up, ping the thing and get all that sort of manual setup stuff that often goes with a cable modem.
This is very plug and play.
So I want to make sure that we're clear with our viewers here because this is kind of a new concept.
Both of these frankly, they're both wireless to wireless.
And we're so used to the idea of some kind of a wire or cable whether it's DSL twisted pair cable, co x Coming to our home and then it's converted into wireless inside our home but both of these are wireless to wireless.
So in your case, obviously, it's 5g being connected to by this gateway, and then it translates that into Wi Fi around the house and obviously the satellite system starlink is the same thing wireless down from the sky.
So John, how was it setting up you had a lot more equipment obviously to set up starlink.
So you're dealing with a 30 pound satellite this and I don't have roof top access in my apartment so so yeah, this is a little bit more hands on you download the starlink app and you use an AR experience which we'll use The camera on your phone and you can point at the sky where the satellites are going by.
And pretty much you wanna be setting that antenna where as a clear view of the sky there are no trees or anything in the way and pretty much once that's set and set in stone you.
Route the cable back into your home, plug it in, and it should automatically search for the satellites over it.
So it's pretty much plug and play except the beginning part.
It's a little hands on you got to take it up.
Satellite is still satellite, you do have a dish it does have to be aimed and it's probably a little bit fussy.
If you get a big storm or a wind that blows that thing around a couple degrees, I imagine it's going to be Not see the birds anymore.
Did you get a sense of how particular it is they do recommend you nailing it down so>> they do sell adapters for it and stuff.
So because mine came on that tripod and obviously any Gustin when we'll probably push that over.
Let's summarize this.
Now as I look at it as you guys have been talking, I'm increasingly seeing these diverge from how you might think of them up front.
We say, these look real similar.
I could pick one or the other.
But as we get these details, I see one going to one audience and one going more to the other.
So Rick, who would you recommend?
You're just talking to friends or family And they say, hey I heard you tried that T-Mobile thing is a good for me.
Who would you recommend it for?
Honestly, I'd recommend it for just about anyone.
There's really no downside that I can see, except for the gaming component.
If you're a heavy duty Online gamer and low latency is important to you.
I haven't been checking the numbers as closely as john has on the on the latency side of things, but I've heard anecdotally that t mobile home internet is not great for gaming.
So that's that's a key consideration for anybody who's considering this.
But anybody who's looking to save money on their internet bill, and I'm pretty sure that's just about everybody.
I know there's some folks who actually pay less than $16 a month, which I'm very envious of.
But if you're paying more, I, if nothing else, you want to have this as a bargaining chip that you can go to your current provider and say, Hey, I'm going to switch to t mobile and who knows they'll catch a break on your service.
That's a key point.
It's not just about what it costs but sometimes it's about what it can make something else cost because you've got that little bit of leverage.
All right John now, for you it was interesting to watch your piece in your video you set up starlink in the middle of populated San Francisco Bay Area.
Is that something you'd recommend for anyone or is this really for a person living in a different area?>> Definitely for people who are in remote or rural communities, this is not intended for someone like me who have access to cable internet, or DSL for example.
So, yeah, this is really for those who have no options.>>When we really start talking about Starlink,we need to look at Starlink as something that is For a different sector of the market as opposed to being layered on top and offering what Rick was talking about, which is leverage.
I'm not gonna be able to call Comcast and threaten to go to Starlink.
I mean, I could, but they probably are not worried about Starlink over at Comcast, cuz it's playing in a different space.
And with the high price, this is not for Everyday Joe like me who have cable internet at a cheaper rate, you know at a faster speed too.
So this is really competing for those who are already using satellite internet as their, you know, provider.
Interesting and they just aren't happy at all with the performance which, you know, I hate to beat up on satellite internet.
It's one of the internet's favorite punching bags previous prior to starlink but
Let's face it, is one of the internet's punching bags for a reason.
Okay, so are there any features that were missing here?
We talked about all kinds of the basic contours of a broadband service, like on the T-Mobile one, Rick, you mentioned the pricing being really good.
Is that only available to T-Mobile subscribers or is this an open product?
No anybody can get it as long as the service itself is available in your area you qualify.
I am not a t mobile phone subscriber so but I am obviously a t mobile home internet subscriber now so that's worked out great.
As far as other features again, I'll just say that the fact that there are no data caps I kind of consider Feature that it is truly unlimited.
The fact that there are no taxes or fees on there I just feels like every other provider whether it's phone or internet or whatever is always getting you with that those extra charges and that's not the case here.
So I love that.
Some folks have asked about the T Mobile Tuesdays thing you know that phone Subscribers get access to these little freebies.
These little perks That T Mobile offers.
Do you get that with the home internet service?
But, if you look around a little bit maybe you never know what might happen.
[LAUGH] That's the nice thing about talking to the cheap skate everybody.
There's always a way and
I'm just saying there's doughnuts at stake here.
[LAUGH] And John, obviously starlings, a new system, very different than T Mobile.
We know the company we know they're solid and been around forever and you know, we'll probably be around forever.
In this case I'd like to ask you when you were dealing with Starlink, obviously we're media so we kinda get handled with kid gloves, I know that but did you get the feeling Starlink for real and here for the long haul did it feel legit?
I totally legit and you know they are launching more satellites every week and you you'll see you're seeing these SpaceX launches, you know, every other week or literally on a weekly basis now, and they're just expanding the coverage more and more and I did read last week.
Wake that in in a few weeks, though entire world would be able to be serviced by starlink.
So that is very promising.
And this is only just getting better.
So yeah, that's the key.
I know we're talking here we've had kinda a very us centric conversation because that's that's really our focus but This is a global system at Starlink.
It's in place in a completely different category than a regional or country based cellular system, obviously, which is a whole a whole separate story that we can take up some other time, but I think it's really exciting to everyone who's watching if you are not aware that there are some new ways to get internet that are very good Very legit, and that we literally have not seen this kind of innovation in at least 20 years in terms of adding new things to your choices to get broadband.
It's a very good time to reconsider what's out there and take a look at what's out there in these two systems in particular, so check out reg broilers look At the T Mobile 5g premises system and John Kins, look at starlink,
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