Starry Internet overview: Fast, affordable internet, no strings attached

Starry InternetStarry Internet overview: Fast, affordable internet, no strings attached

Starry Internet is among the next generation of new wireless technologies that support high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity using millimeter-wave bands capable of sending large amounts of data over short distances. That sounds a lot like 5G, and I’d say it’s definitely similar — but Starry doesn’t quite bill itself as a

5G home internet provider

. Why not? Whereas 5G focuses on mobile, roaming access to the internet, Starry’s technology is focused solely on establishing a fixed, targeted connection to your home.

What’s the difference? Mobile wireless carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon send signals in virtually all directions throughout an area, signals that may reach your phone as you drive around the city, or a gateway at your home that rebroadcast the connection as a Wi-Fi network (both

T-Mobile

and

Verizon

are currently offering 5G home internet plans like that). A fixed wireless connection, like the one from Starry Internet, sends internet signals directly to and from dedicated points.

Whether or not that makes for a connection that’s noticeably better than what 5G offers remains to be seen — and we’ll look forward to putting all of these new types of internet connections to the test as soon as it’s feasible to do so. Still, quality of the connection aside, there’s much to like about Starry’s prices and terms, which eschew contracts, data caps and arbitrary price increases in favor of a simple, straightforward approach that seems more customer-friendly than much of its more

established ISP competitors

.

That, along with Starry’s plans to expand service to tens of millions of additional homes by the end of 2022, makes this an internet provider worth knowing about — and worth considering, too, if it’s available at your address. For now, here’s a complete rundown of what you should know about Starry’s technology and speeds, as well as a close look at the company’s plans, prices and terms.

A fixed wireless flexStarry Internet overview: Fast, affordable internet, no strings attached

Say you’ve got a cup to catch water with. Mobile wireless internet is like holding that cup in the rain. You can catch rain drops pretty much anywhere as you move around the city, though it may be raining heavier in some places than others (and the upgrade to 5G definitely means it is raining harder). Fixed wireless is more like aiming a water gun directly at your cup.

As you can imagine, a fixed wireless connection is better equipped to deliver a stronger, more consistent internet stream compared to 5G, but most fixed wireless connections use unlicensed bandwidth towards the bottom of the spectrum, and that means that the speeds are pretty limited (to go back to the water cup analogy, imagine the sort of cheap, toy water gun that you might use to spray a misbehaving cat).

However, Starry is different to other, slower fixed wireless providers like Rise Broadband or AT&T because it licensed the use of higher frequency bands in the 24-37GHz range that can allow for faster speeds and a higher rate of data transfer — even more so than most 5G connections, which typically operate in the sub-6GHz range. As a result, the connection is closer to a Super Soaker than a cat-sprayer, and it allows Starry to aim a fast, wireless connection at antennas perched atop buildings such as apartment complexes, condos and public housing units. The individual residential spaces within get wired to the antenna, and presto, everyone’s online.

How does Starry Internet fixed wireless internet work?

If you’re familiar with fixed wireless internet, you may associate it with

rural internet

, but Starry’s technology is intended and optimized for the urban setting. So much so, in fact, that Starry is able to deliver speeds and value that rival

fiber

and

cable internet

providers in some of the biggest US markets. It’s a little different from fiber or cable internet, though, so let’s get into a bit about how Starry works before moving on to availability, plans and service terms.

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