Starlink, SpaceX’s internet connectivity constellation, is getting a speed boost.
On Tuesday, the company announced a new Premium tier of its existing service with double the antenna capacity — and around five times the monthly fee.
SpaceX’s emerging constellation of satellites has expanded since its first launch in 2019 to 1,871 satellites in orbit, the largest constellation in orbit. Orbiting at around 340 miles altitude, much closer than competing constellations, SpaceX promises higher speeds and lower latencies than previous satellite internet services; just point a dish at the sky to get online.
While the higher price sounds extortionate, SpaceX’s marketing literature explains that this is designed for the “high demand user.” SpaceX promises higher priority customer support and better bandwidth availability.
In short, this tier should more appeal to businesses and organizations willing to pay a lot more for dependable service. As the company plans to expand its service out to more consumers, here’s what you need to know about the latest change.
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SpaceX Starlink Premium: What are the benefits?
Premium customers can expect:
- Better performance in extreme weather conditions
- Priority support, 24 hours a day and seven days a week
- Bandwidth available for critical service, even when the network is under heavy use
- Double the antenna capacity of the standard Starlink dish
The Premium tier comes with a new, squircle-shaped dish as opposed to the standard circular design.
SpaceX Starlink Premium: How much is it priced at?
Starlink Premium costs $500 per month. The initial hardware is priced at $2,500 plus shipping and fees. Users are expected to place a $500 deposit to reserve their order.
The new tier is exceptionally more expensive than standard Starlink orders. The company normally charges $99 per month for the service, $499 for the mandatory initial hardware, and a $99 deposit.
Note that users are not tied into a minimum length contract with either tier of service.
SpaceX Starlink Premium: How fast is the download speed?
SpaceX claims that users can expect speeds somewhere around 150 and 500 megabits per second. This is a standard unit of measurement for data transfer speeds: one bit is an eighth of a byte. That means, at the high end of expectations, users can transfer up to 62.5 megabytes per second.
By comparison, the standard Starlink tier claims users can expect speeds of between 100 and 200 megabits per second.
Speedtest data shows the median fixed broadband speed in the United States around 136 megabits per second. Mobile speeds, by comparison, reach around 54 megabits per second.
SpaceX Starlink Premium: What is the latency?
SpaceX’s marketing literature suggests there is no difference in latency between the two tiers of service.
Latency measures the response time in milliseconds. That’s important for applications that require lightning-fast responses, like video calls or computer games. In these instances, a slower response time will make the application feel slow, even if the data itself transfers at a fast enough speed.
For the standard Starlink tier, users can expect latencies “as low as 20 [milliseconds] in most locations.” For Starlink Premium, users can expect latency of 20 to 40 milliseconds.
Speedtest data shows the median fixed broadband latency in the United States around 14 milliseconds. Mobile latencies ranked at around 33 milliseconds.
SpaceX Starlink Premium: When is the release date?
SpaceX expects to start shipping Starlink Premium in the second quarter of 2022.
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