Starlink comes to Muskingum County


Media photo from Starlink showcasing a customer’s dish used to connect to satellites in space.

By Staff Report

A company promising to deliver high-speed internet from space now has beta users in Muskingum County.

Starlink, a subsidiary of SpaceX, launched its first satellites in 2018 and CEO Elon Musk says it will transform internet access for those living in rural areas.

It’s no question that those living in rural Appalachia, including parts of Muskingum County, have been left behind with either inadequate or nonexistent connections to the internet.

What began as a way to connect universities and military installations, the internet has become a necessity for most everyday American life.

From online banking to connecting with friends and family through social media and everything in between, the internet has transformed and improved the lives of hundreds of millions, but for some, it hasn’t.

For many living in the City of Zanesville, the county’s many villages and suburban townships, an internet connection isn’t an issue, private companies have stepped up to provide and expand needed service.

However, for some citizens living further out into the less densely populated areas, internet speeds are unable to match those needed for 21st Century online activities or the service never made it out that far.

Nearly 200 students at Franklin Local Schools, for example, don’t have any internet connection whatsoever at home.

While federal, state and even local elected officials are trying to change that, one company has a unique idea – use satellites.

Satellite internet isn’t new, but Musk’s approach is. Traditionally, companies such as HughesNet or Viasat use high-earth-orbiting satellites to beam internet down and back to customers. Due to the extreme distances, speeds are often less than ideal.

Starlink uses hundreds, and in the near future thousands, of low-earth-orbiting satellites, much closer to the ground that can provide higher connection speeds.

In a future in-depth article currently under works by Y-City News, many officials have said that one of the biggest hurdles is the timeline many tout for broadband expansion.

Unionisely, many local citizens say they need access as soon as possible and not in the following years or decades as many current plans establish.

While Muck’s Starlink won’t likely improve internet speeds for those living in areas with decent internet coverage already, those stuck with DSL or dial-up will see the benefit.

The service is still in beta, but while working on a larger article about broadband inequity throughout southeastern Ohio, we discovered a select few individuals living in Muskingum County showing off their special access to Starlink’s beta program.

We tried to reach out to those individuals but didn’t hear back. As per policy at Y-City News, we traditionally don’t name law-abiding citizens who post information without knowing they could be cited in a news story.

According to Starlink, the computer chip shortage has affected their business and plans of rapid expansion, but they continue to launch new satellites and add additional beta users.

Unlike satellite television or current satellite internet, because the satellites are much lower, the signal should pierce through heavy rain or cloud cover, officials say.

Documents by the company indicate that there is a finite possible number of customers per square mile, due to the total amount of connections per grid that each satellite can handle.

Since the service is primarily targeted at rural users, that limit shouldn’t be an issue, officials with the company have said publically.

Musk has also said that the dishes could be attached to boats, airplanes and even vehicles, offering an additional unique way of connecting to the internet, often at faster speeds than currently possible.

News of the possibility has shaken up the financial market values of many traditional internet companies that currently serve those customers.

A timeline for when the company plans to move out of beta and allow anyone to purchase the service is not yet publically known.

Officials from Starlink and SpaceX did not return requests for comments from Y-City News.

Are you an individual in southeast Ohio with Starlink service or are you currently dissatisfied with your internet service or lack thereof, Y-City News would like to hear from you. Contact us at (740) 562-6252, email us at or mail us at 247 Market Street, Zanesville, Ohio 43701.