Farmers living in some of the remotest spots in the South Island could have some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country now satellite internet provider Starlink is servicing the entire island.

With the satellites capable of providing 150 megabit per second downloads, and 30-50 Mbps uploads, and just 20-40 milliseconds lag that’s fast enough for Netflix, gaming and online conferencing, although subscribers have been advised there will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all as the network expands.

A subsidiary of the United States-based SpaceX rocket launch and space craft manufacturing company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, Starlink is able to use its connection to SpaceX to launch thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit.

These orbit about 550km above the Earth’s surface, much closer than other satellite service providers.

Starlink plans to have a global satellite megaconstellation of about 12,000 providing high speed internet access from almost anywhere on the planet.

Earlier this year Starlink advised it was aiming at 10Gbps internet speeds with Musk touting the idea of an eventual 42,000 satellites.

The service has been available in a small way in the south since March, as part of the company’s “beta” or testing stage, making New Zealand one of the first countries to try out the service.

The company also needs ground-based satellite stations to operate and, with little information coming from the company, there had been some serious ‘joining-the-dots’ going on earlier this year by tech pundits as to where and how many of these ground-based stations there would be.

Sites have been confirmed at Puwera, Te Hana, and Clevedon in the North Island and Hinds, Cromwell and Awarua in the South Island.

Initially at least, installation is going to be a DIY job as the customer needs to set up the satellite dish named ‘dishy’ themselves.

The set up package comes with the dish, a tripod mount, 30 metres of cable and a wi-fi router.

A free app which seems only available to mobile phones helps sort out positioning. Given how poor cell phone coverage is in many rural areas some people may end up winging this one.

This may not appeal to some people but it seems likely installers for other dishes like Sky will soon be including it in their services.

For anyone wanting to keep track of the coverage globally as more satellites get launched you can follow here:

  • Reddit’s Starlink tracker list. Starlink/comments/ml2i9q/ starlink_availability_current_ and_new_beta_test
  • The Starlink coverage tracker­
  • Cell-based Starlink coverage tracker: https://n6udp.github. io/starlink-coverage

The service has not been without its detractors, however. Sunlight reflecting off the satel­lites after they are first released at launch forming “trains” of bright dots in a row across the night sky has annoyed astrono­mers since they first appeared, interfering with observations and readings from both optical and radio astronomers. They have even been referred to as “celestial vermin.”

Attempts to dampen the reflective satellites by making them darker have not been successful enough astronomers say. They have now approached the United Nations with their concerns.


  • $799 plus $114 shipping.
  • $159 per month service charge for uncapped broadband access.
  • Apply at: www.­paign=NZ-South-Island