SpaceX Starlink Premium Tier Brings 500Mbps Speeds But The Sticker Shock Is Cringe-Worthy
SpaceX is currently accepting reservations for a new Starlink Premium service tier that promises a big increase in downloads speeds at respectable latency levels, though you'll pay through the nose for it. Not literally, of course (that would be gross). But at $500 per month, Starlink Premium is not for the faint of wallet or purse. That's not the whole cost, either.
There's also a one-time $2,500 charge for the hardware (basically the satellite dish), plus $50 for shipping and handling, and any applicable taxes. Where I live in Tennessee, tax adds $244.50 to the tally. So that's nearly $3,300 in fees for the first month ($2,500 hardware + $50 shipping/handling + $500 service + $244.50 tax). Yikes!
Compare that to the base service, which costs $499 for the satellite dish and then $99 per month. So you're looking at a five-fold price increase for the monthly service, and a premium for the "high performance antenna" that's required to pull down faster downloads.
Pricing aside, Starlink is an intriguing endeavor that expands the reach of broadband internet service to locations that are off the beaten path or otherwise offer limited options for high-speed connectivity (when the satellite dishes aren't being thwarted by cats, that is).. The base service aims to deliver between 100Mbps to 200Mbps with latency as low as 20ms "in most locations." That beats the heck out of dial-up, if that's essentially your only other option.
The new Premium tier kicks things up a notch, with Starlink saying users can expect download speeds of 150Mbps to 500Mbps at the same low latency (20ms to 40ms). Actual results will vary by location and it would stink to drop top dollar on the Premium tier to later find out you're closer to the 150Mbps range. But it's nevertheless nice to see Starlink offer a faster service, pricey as it is.
As with the base tier, the higher speed offering comes with no long-term contracts or data caps. Additionally, Starlink says it designed the antenna for "improved performance in extreme weather conditions (it still requires a clear view of the sky)." Premium tier customers also receive 24/7, prioritized support.
It will be interesting to see how actual speeds stack up versus the advertised range. We'll find out relatively soon—deliveries of Premium tier hardware will being in the second quarter of this year. If you're interested, you can place a reservation with a $500 deposit.