Starlink is ending its unlimited internet data policy for satellite as download speeds continue to decline

Starlink is ending its unlimited internet data policy for satellite as download speeds continue to decline

Starting in December 2022, Starlink satellite internet subscribers using more than 1TB of data per month will see their speeds reduced during the peak hours of 07:00-23:00. Off-peak usage 11pm-7am does not count towards the allocation, as a way to entice subscribers to move their heavy downloads to the night.

According to Starlink’s new fair use policy that has been distributed to North American subscribers since Friday, excessive users will have the option to restore priority access for 25 cents per gigabyte, or they will remain downgraded to basic access until the end of the month.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX continues to add Starlink coverage across new countries and regions, while steadily gaining new commercial customers as it received the green light to provide satellite internet on moving vehicles such as RVs, boats, yachts or cruise ships. These new customers are starting to affect Starlink’s Internet download speeds, which fell by up to 54% year-on-year in Q2, while the median speed in the US fell to around 60 Mbps.

Before the big subscriber scare, Starlink had its speed tier of 350 Mbps listed in the residential sector of the website, while now it appears in the business options which are much more expensive. Starlink says that standard customers on their fixed Internet plans can expect between 20-100 Mbps speeds, while for business customers the realistic expectation figures double to 40-220 Mbps.

Some users are suggesting that maintaining two Starlink satellite internet subscriptions now will be cheaper than paying US$0.25 per gigabyte for the next 1TB Priority Access at full speed. The end of Starlink’s unlimited Internet policy was even commented on by none other than Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin who warned that 1TB of data per month will not be enough for the “scaling endgame” he proposed earlier this year that could solve Ethereum blockchain congestion .

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Still, SpaceX says less than 10% of Starlink subscribers use more than 1TB of monthly data, and only those will be affected by the new fair use data limit.

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