Satellite broadband service Starlink from SpaceX is introducing a faster premium speed option but at a considerably higher cost. The service is expected to be available some time in the second quarter of 2022.
Starlink Premium offers speeds of between 150 Mbps to 500 Mbps, with a standard cost of $499 per month. Standard Starlink service is priced at $99 and offer speeds of up to 150 Mbps.
Speedtest data from Ookla during 3Q21 shows standard Starlink service median download speeds registering at 87 Mbps, which is down a bit from 97 Mbps in 2Q21.
Starlink Premium achieves faster speeds thanks to a new larger antenna which offers a broader scan angle, according to a tweet from SpaceX founder Elon Musk. This setup may also operate better in more extreme weather.
A website explanation for Starlink Premium suggests the service is a good fit for business customers and other high demand users. Starlink Premium will cost users the higher $500 monthly fee and a $2,500 fee for equipment, which includes the larger antenna, a self-install kit, and a Wi-Fi router. Interested customers need to put down a $500 deposit for the premium version.
That higher Starlink Premium cost also gets users lower latency (20-40ms), and prioritized 24/7 customer support. Standard Starlink customer support has had its share of challenges, some would argue.
Starlink RDOF Progress
SpaceX is still awaiting authorization of its near $1 billion win in the FCC’s RDOF auction, which will help support the cost of bringing broadband to 642K rural locations across 35 states. The company has come under considerable scrutiny for its participation and win in the RDOF process.
Speedtest data of late suggests Starlink would have trouble meeting its 100 Mbps RDOF broadband tier requirement and Musk even hinted at possible bankruptcy for the firm.