PROS / StarBand allows unlimited internet use between midnight and 6 a.m. and offers mobile satellite internet.
CONS / The service has drastically slower speeds than its competitors do.
VERDICT / StarBand is the slowest of satellite internet service providers, but it's worth looking into if you are upgrading from dial-up or if you want to take your service with you in an RV or boat.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
StarBand service is part of an older generation of satellite internet providers, and subsequently, falls behind other high-speed satellite internet providers in terms of speed and data allowance. However, it's still worth considering if your only alternative for internet access is a sluggish dial-up modem.
StarBand's download and upload speeds are drastically slower than other satellite internet services we reviewed. The maximum download speed you'll experience with this service is 1.5 Mbps with its premium package and only 512 Kbps (about half a megabit) through the basic package. Even though StarBand's speeds are faster than dial-up, they're much slower than other satellite internet providers.
All satellite internet providers track your bandwidth usage, which means the amount of data you use. Of all the services we reviewed, StarBand offers the smallest data allowance, ranging from 1GB to 5GB of anytime bandwidth depending on the package you select. However, it does not meter usage between midnight and 6 a.m., so if you are a night owl or an early riser, you can take advantage of the unlimited bandwidth and do your heavy internet viewing during off-peak hours. StarBand also provides a download manager, so you can program downloads, whether movies or system upgrades, for this unmetered time. Going over you're data usage violates StarBand's Fair Access Policy and results in throttling your service to an even slower speed.
If you travel a lot, StarBand does have features for you that some other satellite internet service providers lack. First, it allows you to pay a lower subscription rate during the months you are not at home by signing up for a seasonal discount; however, electing for that service costs an additional monthly fee.
Even though the company website confirms that the various service packages require 24 months of service, customer service confirmed with us that there are no longer contracts as of last year. All other internet satellite providers require a minimum two-year service agreement.
The service comes with a minimum of five email accounts, each with 7GB of storage, but it doesn't offer bundled discounts with television or phone services, nor does it have a 30-day return policy where you can cancel service within the first 30 days without incurring any penalty fees. However, this isn't unusual among satellite internet providers.
A major concern with StarBand is help and support services. They do not provide 24/7 technical support. To speak with an actual representative, you can send an email through the website or call during regular business hours, which could be an issue if you experience connectivity issues during off-peak hours. In our own dealings with StarBand's customer service, we encountered some unprofessional behavior and lack of knowledge shown by representatives.
Be aware, too, that you end up paying a lot upfront to purchase and install the equipment. Monthly service packages are comparable to other providers, but the speeds and data usage for other providers are much better for the relative price similarity.
With its limited anytime bandwidth, relatively slow speeds and narrow technical support hours, StarBand is not the best satellite internet provider out there. However, its unlimited bandwidth during off hours and lack of contracts make the service worth looking into if you are upgrading from a dial-up connection.