To the Moon

SpaceX's new 500 Mbps Starlink internet plan is offensively expensive

January 7, 2022
Deerton, Michigan (in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan).                      



The cost per month for a Starlink Premium subscription.


Tim Bieber/Stockbyte Unreleased/Getty Images

Starlink — Elon Musk’s burgeoning satellite internet company — costs users a pretty penny. Although it offers fairly high speeds, the $499 installation cost atop a $99 per month subscription already makes it an impossibility for many rural customers who would otherwise welcome the service.

Knowing this, we assume that same demographic won’t be particularly interested in Starlink’s announcement earlier today of a new Premium tier option, supposedly providing connection speeds of 500 Mbps.

Fast? Sure. But, $500 a month together with a $2,500 setup fee, fast? Probably not. Oh, and lest we forget, there’s currently an additional $500 deposit fee right now to reserve a place for Q2 2022 deliveries. Hard pass there, Mr. Musk.

All this can be yours for $2,500... plus another $500 each month in perpetuity.Starlink

Technically not for average users — To be fair, remote area high-speed connections like this aren’t necessarily meant for typical uses. According to Starlink’s Premium page, the new tier is designed for “high demand users,” providing bandwidth for “critical operations even during times of peak network usage” alongside “extreme weather conditions.” Upon installation, Starlink Premium promises 150-500 Mbps download speeds with a latency of 20-40ms — again, these performance stats are pretty solid if accurate, and for many living in rural areas, they could be one of the only options available. That said... the price. Woof.

Can this support itself? — Last we checked in on Starlink’s financial health, they were reportedly losing around $800 per new home installation, so not exactly the most tenable of business models at the moment. SpaceX is still banking hard on the internet service, however, and remains on track to launch tens of thousands more low-Earth orbit satellites in the coming years. As Starlink expands network reach and improves reliability, perhaps more customers could be swayed to try out the option. Even so, as long as these price points remain where they are, the company will continue to be a tough sell to many people — even those within Musk’s targeted demographics.