Starlink is going to feel a little more like other ISPs, with a new data policy that mimics Anytime Minutes from the bad old days of very limited cell phone service. SpaceX’s satellite Internet division will begin restricting home Internet access to customers using more than 1 TB of Priority Access data per month during peak hours starting in December. The change is rolling out as part of a new “Fair Use Policy” in the US and Canada.
Private customers now start each monthly billing cycle with an assignment of “Priority Access” data that tracks what you use from 7am to 11pm. If you go over that 1 TB limit, which Starlink says is currently done by less than 10 percent of users, you’ll be moved to “Basic Access” data or deprioritized data during heavy network congestion for the rest of your billing cycle.
If you want to buy more Priority Access data, you can do so for 25 cents per GB, and any data used between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. will not count towards your Priority Access count. (You may want to download new ones Duty updates or schedule device backups to run while everyone is asleep, for example). Customers with RV and Portability satellite internet cannot get Priority Access at all, while there are different brackets for anyone with a Business account or using Starlink at sea.
You can track your data usage and choose to purchase Priority Access data through the Starlink app or your Starlink account webpage. As part of the new Fair Use policy, Starlink also has detailed data limits and Priority Access pricing for its business and mobility plans.
Starlink claims its internet is a “finite resource” (just ask the Ukrainian government) that will grow as it launches more satellites, saying it must “manage the network to balance Starlink supply with demand from the user”. But the new data caps put Starlink on the ground with other ISPs like Comcast, which currently has 1.2 TB data caps for many customers (and has repeatedly delayed its introduction in the northeastern states).