Starlink’s satellite internet service just got a big downgrade – what you need to know

Image of new Starlink Premium antennae dish.
(Image credit: SpaceX)

After raising the price of Starlink earlier this year, SpaceX will soon implement a new data policy for its satellite internet service that will lower the internet speeds of customers who use too much data.

As reported by The Verge, SpaceX will begin throttling the connections of home internet customers that use more than 1 TB of Priority Access data during peak hours beginning in December. This means that you’ll need to carefully monitor how much internet you use each day during peak hours, which run from 7AM to 11PM according to Starlink's Fair Use Policy.

Once you go over Starlink’s new 1 TB data cap, you’ll be moved from “Priority Access” data to “Basic Access” data. You will still be able to connect to the internet and use Starlink but the speed of your connection will be slower.

Home internet customers that exceed Starlink’s new data cap will be able to purchase more Priority Access data but it will cost 25 cents per GB. It’s worth noting that Starlink For RV and Portability customers aren’t able to get Priority Access data at all.

Businesses will have it even worse under Starlink’s new peak-hour data cap policy, with caps ranging from 500 GB to 3TB depending on their plan and will need to pay $1 per gigabyte if they go over the limit. Meanwhile, Premium users will also have a 1 TB data cap while Maritime users will have 5TB caps. If users of Starlink’s more expensive plans go over the cap, they will need to pay $2 for every extra gigabyte of priority data.

Data caps are nothing new and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast have them for their home broadband plans as well. As we noted in our Starlink review, actual throughput typically isn't anywhere near the advertised speeds, so if you’re a Starlink customer who relies on its satellite internet service, you should probably wait until the evening for any big downloads in order to avoid going over your data limit. 

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.