Don't make the mistake of using just one metric to make a service decision.
That is the same as choosing your next car based only on it's top speed rating and no other factors.
Top 5 factors to consider:
4. Reliability (yes, again)
5. Speed (both upload and download)
May 2023 Update
The monthly limit has been removed, and new standard/priority services offered. Performance varies significantly based on time of day and other factors.
Generally speaking, most RC customers seem to be mostly satisfied.
December 2022 Update
Starlink performance has reduced substantially recently. Download speeds in the evenings (peak times) are frequently lower than Geolinks. Latency is frequently higher, and general surfing just "feels" slower. It is partly driven by reduced upload speeds (takes longer to make a request for a webpage). TV streaming is less impacted.
Additionally, there is now a monthly data transfer limit of 1TB. Off peak time (11pm to 7am) is excluded. Once the limit is reached, traffic is de-prioritized (slowed down), or you can pay for additional data - much like a limited mobile phone plan.
1TB is easy to reach with heavy TV streaming.
Rancho Carrillo has the following possible means to access the internet:
Geolinks - Fixed wireless system. An antenna on the house points at the main water tank (or a repeater) which in turn links back via Modjeska Peak. The system within Rancho Carrillo runs at 5GHz, which allows for a high speed but is susceptible to "Line of Sight" issues, including trees. If you have this service and feel it is performing poorly, check the line of sight to see if any trees have grown to obstruct it. If they have, move your antenna to a location that has no obstruction, taking care to make sure that it remains pointed in EXACTLY the right direction.
Standard service is 15Mbs download, 5Mbs upload with a 'ping' (latency) of 10-20ms. This latency is considered 'excellent', and is suitable for video calls, gaming, etc. The 15Mbs download speed is enough for one 4k stream, or multiple HD (1080p) streams. The service speed is very consistent and predictable, without interruption and dropped calls etc.
The cost of Geolinks for grandfathered accounts is $85/month. This cost has not changed for over 15 years ($85 in 2008 is $114 in 2022). For new accounts, a different rate will be charged which does not bill the equipment & installation up front ($1000+).
There has been some complaint recently about the service performance. Check your line of sight; do a speed test; do a ping test. If your numbers are lower than the numbers quoted above, the problem is most certainly between your property and the access point (water tank or repeater), not with the Geolinks core service.
The technology for this type of system hasn't changed much in the last 20 years. The 5GHz radios are largely the same. As the radios at each home age out, Geolinks replace them with newer versions. They are capable of 100Mbs+; the bandwidth to each home is limited by the shared backhaul service via Modjeska Peak to Irvine, not within Rancho Carrillo.
Starlink - The low earth orbit satellite service from SpaceX is now available in Rancho Carrillo. The dish is self pointing and needs a clear view of the north sky. Any obstruction (trees) will degrade performance.
Standard service varies between approx 50-250Mbs with a 'ping' (latency) of 20-60ms. This is considered 'good', and is suitable for video calls, non competitive gaming, WIFI calling etc. The service is very variable and fluctuates by the second. Generally it is reliable enough for most purposes (it is not sold with perfect reliability).
The service has a $600 equipment cost, with monthly service fee of $110 (other options, including 'RV' & portability available).
Cell service - Higher elevation properties (mostly the north end toward Fox Springs) are capable of receiving 'some' cell service. When combined with a cell amplifier, 4G LTE speeds of around 5-9Mbs download, 1-4Mbs upload are possible. 'ping' (latency) is 60-120ms. The service is good enough to run a single video/zoom call, but streaming/gaming would perform poorly. T-mobile & Verizon are verified as working well, other carriers not tested. Reliability/consistency are good. Consider most cell plans have data caps.
Hughesnet, Viasat & other first generation satellite services - All perform so poorly as to be almost totally worthless. The technology is out-dated by decades, and user reports are consistently rated as extremely poor.
Service test resources:
Geolinks service test results
May 2022 above, December 2022 below
Starlink service test results:
May 2022 above, December 2022 below