Updated: Aug 12
If you are at all familiar with the Starlink system you know it has taken the rural internet world by storm with the ability to access the web in even the most remote places.
This SpaceX system comes at a cost though with a one time investment for the purchase of the kit $700+ CAD - *$199 for a limited time) as well as a standard monthly fee ($140+ CAD) for the ongoing services, it certainly is not the cheapest rural ISP out there. In this article we will look at bill sharing with a neighbor nearby or multiple homes on the same property. This does mean more upfront costs to have this setup but it will pay itself off in a short time and cut costs in the long run. Quick math on an average setup by a professional would run you anywhere from $500-$1000 for equipment, supplies and labor charges. Taking into consideration if you were to end up on the higher end of the install cost but are splitting the bill in half for installation, as well as the monthly cost, both homes would be paying a monthly fee of around $70/each (instead of $140/each with a system of their own) and $500/each for the installation. In less than a year both customers will have recouped their costs and from that point on will be saving approximately $70/month for as long as they keep Starlink as an ISP. The savings would be exponential and quite significant in just a couple of years and beyond.
How to share the bill
Obviously having the above setup in place can come with some issues. One of the big ones being the placement of the Dishy itself, whoever has the satellite dish on their roof and the main Starlink router connected into their home will also be somewhat responsible for making sure the system is up and running if anything goes wrong (if the main feed goes down they both go down).
In most cases with Starlink there is minimal down time and this is not often an issue, but it is still something to keep in mind before the decision to share the link is made. Another thing to consider is the technology put in place to complete the wireless link between the two buildings, this is a case of using quality equipment for a long lasting install and in most cases should be left up to a professional that has experience with many different brands and manufacturers to find the best quality, and most cost effective plan for your network.
Secondary link option
We have seen quite a few properties that have an existing trenched Cat cable from one home to another and this can be a cost effective option if it is able to be utilized from your Starlink router. It is also a more stable link as you are not counting on wireless signals to complete the bridge. One thing to keep in mind is that when we have long runs of Cat cabling coming off of the ethernet adapter (gen2) or directly off of the router (Gen1) is the potential need for a power injector to keep a quality signal the whole way down the line. When we are looking in excess of 150' things can start to go wrong on your network as Starlinks power source can't manage that kind of distance. Both wireless and hardwired have their pros and cons but can save you a lot of money when done right. If you can affordably trench from one building to the other keep that as an option, as a good quality burial cable can last for a very long time (especially when buried in conduit) and provide stable internet to the neighboring building.
Multi Unit Buildings
Earlier in this post we discussed internet sharing with 2 homes and the pros and cons that can go along with that. Now I would like to talk about multi unit buildings (apartments, 4 plexes, condos, campgrounds, etc). This is a concept people living in big cities can not grasp, but if you are like me and were raised in a very rural/small town Canadian province then the idea of multi unit buildings with poor internet service is very much a reality - to this day. Starlink is an excellent option for multi unit buildings who all would like to run off of the same internet system. There are still limitations regarding the download and upload speeds when being shared across a range of routers and Wi-Fi devices but that being said it can save a lot of money in the long run for the Landlord or the tenants/owners and still be sufficient and reliable service for the users.
When looking at a setup such as this a fair bit of equipment will be needed to begin reaping the benefits of internet sharing:
-A wireless router for each unit
-At least one Ethernet switch to feed the units from a central point
-Ethernet cabling (if not already wired throughout the building) from the Switch to each unit to connect the wireless router
This scenario is a bit more complicated to do the math on as there are a lot more variables but it is still something to consider if you run a campground, are a landlord who wants to provide Wi-Fi to there tenants and create a more appealing rental option, or as the owner/tenant of a unit who would like to look at sharing with other residents and split the monthly costs (with someone you trust). *One thing to keep in mind is that the scenarios in this post are based on a residential internet package, if more speeds are needed a business system is available through Starlink at a higher monthly and a higher up front cost for the equipment*
Although this post does not cover every possible scenario when it comes to sharing internet services, it should at least get you started. We hope this article has been helpful in your decisions and/or discovery regarding Starlink Internet Sharing and the pros and cons, as well as the possibilities that it entails. If you have any questions surrounding this topic feel free to jump in to our forum at www.starlinkcommunityforums.com and join the Starlink conversation.