Do you hate your local internet service provider? Many people can’t stand the one or two ISPs that are available for their area. If you don’t like your ISP, whether it’s due to the quality of the service they provide or the cost, you often can’t do anything about it. You need internet, and they’re the only company in town offering it.
However, Starry Internet wants to change that. The company offers a wireless home internet service that is like 5G, but faster, and promises to fundamentally alter the ISP market. Where ISPs have to use public hub stations and physical wires to reach homes, Starry uses a wireless technology approach that is more akin to a radio broadcast or a cell phone service provider’s internet.
Starry works by putting its main data hubs (called Starry Titans) on radio towers or at the tops of particularly tall buildings. The service uses very high-frequency signals (at 24GHz and above) that are even faster than 5G. Rather than blasting the signal in all directions like with 5G, Starry aims their signal at a specific location: Starry Tridents, small hubs that are affixed to the tops of apartment buildings and similar structures.
Then, all of the homes within a certain radius of the Trident are able to hardwire into the structure, allowing them to access a very high-speed internet signal without the need to pay for a local broadband or fiber connection. This is huge win for many internet customers.
Some customers, like those who are in standalone homes, will use a different hub than a Trident: the Starry Comet is a smaller receiver that is designed for individual family use.
Starry is in its earliest stages currently, having only launched in a trial market in Boston in 2016. It’s since expanded to include Los Angeles, DC, New York, Denver, and Columbus. However, the service could be poised to alter the way internet is delivered on a grand scale, should it ever expand to cover most of the US.
The biggest draw for Starry, aside from the pricing being significantly gentler than most ISPs, is that it eschews traditional data caps, contracts, and equipment fees. This makes it a refreshing look at what the future of internet providers could be. At the very least, pressure like this in the market could convince traditional ISPs to drop the bogus data caps and get real with their customers about the value of the service they provide.