Twitter has been taking up more than its fair share of the news cycle recently, which may be why Starlink decided the end of the week was a good time to quietly drop details about an upcoming data cap limitation that will affect residential subscribers. Starlink users will face a maximum monthly data limit starting next month, after which they will have to pay for every extra gigabyte used or settle for slower speeds. The change was announced in a new policy page on the Starlink website, as well as an email sent to customers, explaining that the peak-hours data cap is intended to reduce network congestion and help ensure that all customers have a good experience.
Only a few weeks ago, Starlink announced its latest product: satellite internet service for airplanes. This premium subscription joins others designed for RVs and boats, essentially providing high-speed internet access in unusual situations where 4G LTE and 5G aren’t available. While many people are satisfied with their cable internet service, rural areas have a critical need for high-speed internet access. The pandemic highlighted the slow spread of broadband internet into low-population areas, as many people struggled to work and participate in classes remotely using slow DSL and mobile connections. Starlink may be the answer, but only if it effectively manages its network.
What Starlink residential customers need to know
Residential Starlink customers in the United States and Canada should visit the company’s new Fair Use Policy web page, which describes the steps Starlink takes to manage traffic across its network. Users will find information about a daytime data cap under the Residential Services section, which will be implemented for US and Canadian accounts beginning in December 2022, according to an email sent to customers. Simply put, Starlink’s residential plans are divided into two categories: Basic Access and Priority Access. Basic Access essentially refers to the satellite internet experience while it is throttled, which may occur when the network is overburdened. Priority Access, on the other hand, takes precedence over Basic Access, implying that you can expect faster speeds.
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Residential customers will be subject to a new Peak Hours policy beginning next month, which will run from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time. If your account isn’t on the portable, RV, or Best Effort plans, you’ll get 1TB of Priority Access data every month. If you consume a full terabyte of data during the day in a single month, you’ll have two choices: spend the rest of the month on the lower-priority Basic Access tier or pay $0.25 per gigabyte for additional Priority Access data. As a result, subscribers who don’t want to deal with throttling or extra fees should plan their game downloads and other data-heavy activities for after 11 p.m. but before 7 a.m., as data used after 7 a.m.