Starlink adds a daytime data cap of 1 TB for residential users

mongeese

Posts: 632   +123
Staff member
In a nutshell: Starlink told its customers via email this week that their internet access might be throttled after they use more than 1 TB within a month. Starlink has updated its "Fair Use" and "Specifications" documents to reflect the changes, which include slower average speeds and countermeasures to reduce congestion during peak periods.

After the new policies come into effect in December, standard residential users will start each month with 1 TB of "Priority Access" included in their $110 monthly fee for use during "peak hours," 7 am to 11 pm. Data used outside of those hours won't count toward the cap. If a subscriber uses more than 1 TB they'll be transitioned to "Basic Access," which is unlimited but potentially much slower than Priority Access when there's congestion.

Users can opt-in to keep paying for Priority Access after reaching the cap 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.

Starlink says that about 10 percent of its customers use more than 1 TB some months, and it notified them by email that they will be affected by the change. A portion of them will be able to duck under the limit by waiting until after 11 pm to start downloading the next game they want to play or OS update. But some users are rightly upset that Starlink is changing its offerings now that they've already paid the $599 upfront fee for the requisite hardware.

Starlink also changed the expected speeds of its regular service without notifying its customers, albeit with a caveat: its customer support team is saying that no individuals will experience a sudden drop in speed, but rather, the new speeds reflect the future average speeds that it expects to achieve as it expands its user base. Current users say that they have been getting far lower speeds than Starlink advertises for months anyway.

For regular users in most of the world, the expected speed used to be 50-200 Mbps down, and now it's 20-100 Mbps with Priority Access. Best Effort, RV, and Basic Access speeds are expected to be 5-50 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 comes across as strange for SpaceX to choose now to introduce data caps to Starlink after the service already took a hit to its reputation last month when Elon Musk said that the company didn't want to keep paying for the service's use by the Ukrainian military before eventually backtracking. CNN says that SpaceX is still in talks to have the Pentagon foot the bill after 1,300 terminals being used on the frontlines when offline last week.

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tellmewhy

Posts: 230   +127
100mbs is 12MB/s which is a little over 1TB/24 hours. If you sell 100mbs unlimited (and not 1 TB per month) you must guarantee that there will be enough bandwidth for at least 4 hours per day (24h) which is about ~5 TB per month, still not unlimited but it can pass without anyone notice it. In a different situation maybe you are leaving your self vulnerable to legal complications (both civil and criminal).
 
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nodfor

Posts: 333   +607
100mbs is 12MB/s which is a little over 1TB/24 hours. If you sell 100mbs unlimited (and not 1 TB per month) you must guarantee that there will be enough bandwidth for at least 4 hours per day (24h) which is about ~5 TB per month, still not unlimited but it can pass without anyone notice it. In a different situation maybe you are leaving your self vulnerable to legal complications (both civil and criminal).
still unlimited, just speed cap, so unless speed was stated as guaranteed ...
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,257   +4,397
Of course it did. Let's just think through the ways this will continue to happen:

1) Top of the list needs to be Musk current speedrun attempt to run twitter into the ground, it will inevitably affect related companies in that constellation (Pun intended)

2) Traditional ISPs seem to be pretty strong into their basically invulnerable status in their monopolies so it's not going to get better any sooner. Sure there might be isolated cases where municipal fiber efforts will sneak past both political parties (At the behest of ISP thinktanks of course) will immediately rile up the McCarthist propaganda on how people getting cheap fiber is evil and such.

3) Inevitably tied to Star Link by compounding the above issue is just housing: Unless we have another immediate real estate crash right now, housing will continue to be a huge reason why people are literally priced out of the area that one can reasonably expect current cabling based infrastructure can cover or quickly reach into: It is extremely safe to say that most people will sooner move further and further away from city centers without proper ISPs than say, literally go homeless and destitude because of the pressure rent puts on even suburbs and fairly distant cities

4) Finally there's just the initial (lack of) planning of Starlink's business plan overall: It's been shown consistently how it's physically impossible for Starlink to launch enough low orbit satellites to keep up with just the ones they'll lose consistently both to entropy and natural degradation, so the issue is that now that anybody can technically attempt to get starlink the demand will exponentially make this a problem worst and worst for them until they're indistinguishable from the absurd data caps and speed rates of traditional satelite internet office: The ones they go as far as advertise as for just emergencies, extremely rural or even barely civilized areas and back up 'Plan B' service.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 230   +127
still unlimited, just speed cap, so unless speed was stated as guaranteed ...
no no no no, it's not that simple to play with words when you're signing contracts with thousands of people. If the service has let’s say 1 million customers and 999,999 silently accept it, but someone goes to court after a few years and says 100mbs is 30TB a month not 1TB and the court agrees, then the company has to pay back at least all the money (because he was selling 1 TB) with interest to the remaining 999,999 and to give 30 TB per month at the same price for the years they had the contract. And if someone owes you 30 items for x price and instead delivers 1 item for x price, that's not a light thing from a criminal law perspective. If you don't want to sell with quantity limits, don't mention quantity limits at all, if you want to sell with quantity limits, list the exact quantity.

Don't use abstract terms like "fair use" or "up to that speed x" in contracts because that just means the court will have the power to decide on those vague terms. Maybe you say up to x speed and the court decides that means legal obligation for that x speed +-3% and not 10mbs when you say up to 100mbs. And you don't want a court to have the power to decide on the existence of your company, because if the decision is the one I mention above de facto it means bankruptcy. The contract is not a marketing tool, it needs to be extremely specific specially when it for thousands of people.
 

Mjsun

Posts: 23   +47
To all you crying foul, Comcast does literally the same thing, except they are not “kind” enough to recognize off-peak consumption. Their residential service is generally faster than Starlink, but has a flat, dumb 1.2TB/month data cap.

Now, one expects Starlink will likely continue to degrade as the user ramp exceeds their capacity capability, but in many instances where Starlink is the only game in town it does not matter. Those choosing Starlink over a ground based provider are making an odd choice, but one I understand if you want to stick it to your local cable crony. You just end up feeding the space crony.

Municipal fiber wins always, where it is available.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,348   +2,023
after the service already took a hit to its reputation last month when Elon Musk said that the company didn't want to keep paying for the service's use by the Ukrainian military
There are people who are looking down on Starlink for not wanting to foot a large war-related bill indefinitely on its own dime? Are there any other private companies from any other country who are contributing more private funds? Or have provided more of a strategic benefit without being paid for it?

For me I applaud them with being willing to get started immediately without waiting for the paperwork, but I don't see how it's unreasonable to expect the funding to be arranged eventually.

It comes across as strange for SpaceX to choose now to introduce data caps
This part I agree with. The four likeliest explanations are that a planned technical improvement to bandwidth did not materialize; or that adoption has gone beyond a scaling inflection point; or they knew this cap would be necessary all along and chose to withhold that fact; or they failed to do basic math anytime between inception and now. Any of these beg further explanation.
 

NikoBB

Posts: 99   +60
Naturally, no satellite internet can ever compare to a reliable cable connection.

Obviously, the purpose of such networks is different.

Starlink has already shown its capabilities in Ukraine and the totalitarian authorities of the whole world have realized how dangerous the illegal appearance of terminals of such networks on their territory (with the intentional support of illegal (from the point of view of local authorities) access by such a system) with the difficulty of jamming the signal and detecting illegal access to its territory.

Therefore, the commercial component of success is less important here than the geopolitical possibilities of influence, and therefore, if the network is overloaded with ordinary commercial participants (or there is simply a shortage of access bandwidth for customers of geopolitical importance), their (ordinary customers) level of quality of service will be deliberately lowered in priority vs. clients with geopolitical interests.

The Internet, which is not controlled by local authorities, becomes very dangerous for maintaining the necessary order among the serfs. Most likely, someone like the DPRK (by the hands of Eun) will carry out the fresh idea of сhinese scientists to detonate a thermonuclear bomb in the atmosphere (or something similar) and completely eliminate the Starlink network and the like. Before the world plunges into a new dark and gloomy Middle Ages with a sharp decline in population (this is already absolutely guaranteed), any signs and possibilities of globalization will be destroyed. The world is rapidly turning into closed concentration camps...
 
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RudyBob

Posts: 892   +913
Is Starlink way better than Exede or Hughes? It will be available in my area next year according to Starlink and $110/month is OK by me. The data capacity is great. Can I game on it?
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 889   +1,418
1tb limit? That's like four Day 1 patches...
Yeah but at least you can easily plan to install those overnight. It’s streaming video that will be a challenge for some larger households.

Honestly French users have it good if their old data cap still applies. They can pay €100 for unlimited data or €50 for a 250GB limit (with each additional 50GB being a €10 addon): https://www.techspot.com/news/95521-starlink-users-france-exceeding-250gbmo-data-usage-could.html
 

bviktor

Posts: 1,156   +1,686
I really don’t see the issue here. This is clearly against misuse. Who the hell downloads more than 1TB a month? I download maybe 50 GB if I’m really pushing it. Add maybe a couple hundred if I suddenly download several AAA titles or huge patches to them at the same time (extremely unlikely). Still WAY below the cap.

And if I still need the data? Then I’ll pay up. It’s not rocket science. Extreme users should pay more, end of story.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,348   +2,023
I really don’t see the issue here.
The issue I see is not the cap itself, but the delayed disclosure of the cap until only after the purchase of a multi-hundred dollar connection device. If the cap is necessary, I'm having trouble believing the need for it was not foreseeable and thus disclosable earlier in the process. An acceptable mitigation would be allowing refunds for recent purchases.

This is clearly against misuse.
Not for much longer. At roughly 7GB per hour of streamed 4K video, that's less than 150 hours of video, which is nothing for say a typical family of 4 especially these days with everyone on their own devices watching their own content. Most non-technical users are probably not thinking or noticing about bandwidth usage at all.

Video is clearly the most likely driver, but for the not small segment that also downloads software and especially games, I feel like we're past the point where developers exercise any caution in releasing 20+, or even 50+ GB updates on a whim.

Anyway the technical capacity is what it is, it is much better to have a 1 TB limit available than no offering at all, and I'm sure most users will be able to figure out how to work within it once they've had a chance to adapt. It's a reasonable policy but a less reasonable after-the-purchase change.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,406   +987
People, this is how you take something really cool and ruin it in a single action.
 

Rocky4040

Posts: 144   +174
My question is how are they able to make these changes after a customer enters into a contract with the company. If they advertise unlimited and advertise certain speeds and the customer enters into a contract then said company has to honor that contract that the customer and the company agreed to and the customer is paying for. If the company wants to lower the data cap and lower the speeds then they also should be lowering the monthly charges as well.

I see quite a few lawsuits about to happen. Then again if you look at Musks track record on how Tesla is run then no one should be surprised by this move by. If you look at how Musk runs tesla where they can turn off features of a Tesla car at their will or totally disable it & this is done to cars that were bought and paid for and no longer Tesla's property but I guess Musk didn't get the memo that once he sells something he no longer owns it lol.

 
I'm afraid Elon Musk is "losing it".
Genius and madness sadly often go hand in hand.
Just look at Kanye.
Musk dumping 44B on Twitter, when it's probably only worth 10B, is massively negative.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,286   +8,432
Porn sites will likely suffer somewhat under these caps. After all, 4K is a hit there too now, with individual movies approaching 9 GB. Either that, or the horn dogs will have to go back to lowly 1080p.

I have a suspicion that those with truly raging hormones could make 1 TB a month. Considering that those movies are one view and done. (Of course), most recent Hollywood movies fit into that category as well).
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 452   +1,021
Is Starlink way better than Exede or Hughes? It will be available in my area next year according to Starlink and $110/month is OK by me. The data capacity is great. Can I game on it?

It's better than any other satellite internet service available. Kind of like cable, more users active in the area cuts into speed for each user. If you can't get a hard line for internet, your best options are probably 4/5G cellular (if available) or Starlink.

Access doesn't cut off at 1TB, and there is no charge for exceeding the cap. Comcast will automatically charge $10 for each 50GB over the cap.

Starlink will deprioritize the connection once it hits 1TB on the month. The impact probably depends on the density of Starlink users in the area. RV accounts are deprioritized by default, but the most likely locations for those are in the boonies where there aren't many people to connect, anyway.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,410   +7,845
I really don’t see the issue here. This is clearly against misuse. Who the hell downloads more than 1TB a month?
In my opinion, by that argument, all ISPs, regardless of their technical capacity to meet the download demands of their users, should be implementing data caps. As we all know, not all do. My ISP doesn't, and technically they are a smallish, but growing FTTH provider.
I download maybe 50 GB if I’m really pushing it. Add maybe a couple hundred if I suddenly download several AAA titles or huge patches to them at the same time (extremely unlikely). Still WAY below the cap.
Same here, I'm in the 50GB to 100GB range per month on average, although, I cannot say that I've ever exceeded 100GB. Most of that is Netflix or other legitimate streaming, some of that is very large game downloads - nothing I do is illegal or questionable.

But who is to say what is abusive? Should we have every ISP policing our download habits? IMO, we should not. If it's Musk's/SpaceX's Pi$$ poor planning, who's fault is that? I'll squarely blame Musk and his knee-jerk business management style.

He's just trying to ensure he has an income and is striking out all over the place with, IMO, "I'll invest in the latest fad to maintain my lifestyle" crap that gets him nowhere except demonstrating that he's ultimately, a spoiled, clueless, brat with little real business sense.

After all, look at the starting subscription rates - now Musk wants to charge RV/Boat owners rates that would bankrupt most people for what, exactly? Being part of his harem? His initial rates have amounted to no more than a baited hook.
And if I still need the data? Then I’ll pay up. It’s not rocket science. Extreme users should pay more, end of story.
IMO, "extreme users" should find another ISP.