SpaceX’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service Starlink improved its average download data rates available in the US from 87.25Mb/s in the third quarter of 2021 to 104.97 Mb/s in Q4, Ookla’s latest speed tests showed.

Among the top-three US satellite providers, Starlink easily outpaced Viasat’s median of 21.81Mb/s and HughesNet’s top speed of 20.92Mb/s. Ookla also added SES to its list in the fourth quarter, but it trailed the pack at 2.19Mb/s.

By comparison, the median download speed for all US fixed-line broadband providers rose moderately from 119.84Mb/s in Q3 to 131.30Mb/s in Q4.

In terms of competition from mobile network players, Starlink has a slight edge: a report from Ookla at the end of 2021 placed average US 5G download speeds at 93.73Mb/s.

While Starlink’s downstream speeds increased in the fourth quarter, its uplink rate was down from 13.54Mb/s in the third quarter to 12.02Mb/s.

SES, Viasat, and HughesNet all use higher geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) satellites which posted higher median latencies than Starlink’s LEO satellites.

Starlink’s median latency score of 40-milliseconds (ms) was far and away better than SES (613 ms), Viasat (627 ms) and HughesNet (725 ms).