Two months into its operation in Nigeria, users of Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet service have been giving their reviews, with complaints of poor connectivity whenever it rains topping their concerns.   

While Starlink is delivering in terms of its promised speed of between 50Mbps and 200Mbps under normal weather conditions, users said they experience slow speed or total blackout any time it rains, a disturbing development that is now forcing many users of Starlink to have a backup Internet Service Provider (ISP). 

With last Monday night’s rain in Lagos affecting the users, they are worried that the situation may get worse when the rainy season sets in properly.  

Disappointed customer: A Starlink user in Lagos, Adewale Sunday, expressed disappointment that he had to go for a backup internet service after Starlink had failed him twice because it rained.  

  • “The most disappointing part for me is that after paying a huge amount of money to acquire the hardware and pay a subscription, I realised I cannot 100% depend on Starlink for my business because the service becomes terrible whenever it rains. This is Lagos where rain can fall at any time. I have to continue the subscription for my old ISP as a backup,” Adewale told Nairametrics. 

Another Starlink user who took to Twitter to complain about the service, Fisayo Fosudo, said he experienced a complete blackout because it rained on Monday and even after the rain, the speed become slower than usual. Posting a screenshot of his attempt to conduct a speed test during the rain. He said:  

  • “This is a screenshot from last night when it rained…Starlink wouldn’t even run the speed test. We’ve been getting ~20Mbps downloads since then.” 

 For Izzy Boye, even though his Starlink works during rain, the speed becomes very slow.

Why it happens: Starlink is a satellite-based broadband internet service. According to experts, satellite signals are transmitted via radio waves, which travel best through open air but can get deflected or dispersed when they pass through water, buildings, and heavy foliage. This is why satellite signals weaken during weather conditions like rain, snow, and even dust storms. 

In case you missed it: Although Starlink officially announced its presence in Nigeria in January this year, Nigerians have been pre-ordering its hardware since last year. The company, which initially quoted its prices in dollars at $600 for the hardware and $43 for the subscription, changed to naira upon its official announcement. 

However, while the amount quoted in naira appears cheaper compared to the dollar quotes, at N268,584 for the hardware and N19,260 for monthly subscriptions, Nigerians are paying far higher as they have to source for dollars at the parallel market rate to be able to order Starlink.