This week, Starlink sent emails to its subscribers warning them that if they consume more than 1 TB of data in a month, their internet connection would be restricted. In order to reflect the modifications, which include slower average speeds and strategies to ease congestion during peak hours, Starlink amended its “Fair Use” and “Specifications” documentation.
Standard residential users will have 1 TB of “Priority Access” included in their $110 monthly cost for use from 7 am to 11 pm starting in December, when the new regulations take effect. Outside of certain times, data usage is not subject to the cap. A user will be switched to “Basic Access,” which is unlimited but may be considerably slower than Priority Access during periods of congestion, if they consume more than 1 TB.
After hitting the cap, users have the option to continue paying for Priority Access at a rate of $0.25 per GB, or $250 per TB. Yes, as one Reddit user points out on the Starlink subreddit, buying two Starlink subscriptions will be $140 cheaper than buying 2 TB of data with the one subscription.
About 10% of Starlink’s customers, according to the company, occasionally use more than 1 TB, and they were alerted through email that the change will effect them. Some of them will be able to get around the restriction by delaying their next game or OS update download until after 11 p.m. However, some customers are understandably disgruntled that Starlink is altering its product lineup after they have already paid the $599 up-front cost for the necessary gear.
Despite a caveat, Starlink’s customer support team says that no one will suddenly experience a drop in speed and that the new speeds instead reflect the average speeds it expects to achieve as its user base grows. Starlink also altered the anticipated speeds of its regular service without notifying its customers. Users currently report that for months, they have already been receiving much slower speeds than Starlink offers.
Priority Access has reduced the predicted speed for normal users from 50 to 200 Mbps down to 20 to 100 Mbps. The projected range for Best Effort, RV, and Basic Access speeds is 5 to 50 Mbps. Businesses can purchase faster speeds and up to 3 TB of monthly Priority Access for static locations or 5 TB if they’re on the move or ocean-based.
It seems odd that SpaceX would decide to limit data usage today, especially after Elon Musk damaged the service’s reputation last month by declaring that the firm didn’t want to continue funding the service used by the Ukrainian military before later retracting his statement. CNN reports that after 1,300 terminals used on the front lines went offline last week, SpaceX is still in discussions to have the Pentagon foot the tab.