Starlink ends its unlimited satellite Internet data policy as download speeds keep dropping

Starting in December 2022, Starlink satellite Internet subscribers who use more than 1 TB of data per month will see their speeds throttle in the peak hours of 7am to 11pm. Usage in off-peak hours from 11 pm to 7 am is not counted in the allotment, as a way to convince subscribers to carry their heavy downloads during the night.

According to Starlink’s new Fair Use Policy published to North American subscribers since Friday, redundant users will have the option of getting their priority access back for 25 cents per gigabyte, or else they will remain without priority access until the end of the month.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX program continues to add Starlink coverage to new countries and regions, while constantly attracting new commercial customers as it has been given the green light to provide satellite internet on moving vehicles such as RVs, boats, yachts or cruise ships. These new customers are starting to weigh on Starlink’s internet download speeds, which fell 54% year-over-year in the second quarter, while average speeds in the US dropped to about 60Mbps.

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Before the big rush of subscribers, Starlink had a 350Mbps speed class listed in the residential segment on its website, while it now appears in more expensive business options. Starlink says that standard customers on their fixed internet plans can expect speeds of 20-100Mbps, while for business customers, realistic expectations numbers double to 40-220Mbps.

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Some users are suggesting that keeping two Starlink satellite internet subscriptions is now going to be cheaper than paying $0.25 per GB for 1 TB of next priority access at full speed. The end of Starlink’s unlimited internet policy was even commented on by Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, who warned that 1 terabyte of data per month would not be enough for the “game scaling” he proposed earlier in the year that could solve Ethereum blockchain congestion.

However, SpaceX says that less than 10% of Starlink subscribers use more than 1 TB of data per month, and that only they will be affected by the new Fair Use Policy data cap.

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