SpaceX first announced the Starlink data cap in 2022. According to the company, users would enjoy a monthly 1TB of “priority of data.”
Once exceeded, you would continue receiving the internet but at a slower rate (depolarized), or pay some small amount.
However, Starlink recently sent an email to users saying that the Residential subscription remains unlimited and you will never experience slow data after exceeding 1TB.
So, what is Starlink data cap about, and does it still exist?
We offer you everything you may need to know about this new development.
Table of Contents
- What is Starlink Data Cap?
- How Did Starlink Data Cap Work?
- Does Starlink RV have Data Caps?
- Why Did Starlink Introduce a Data Cap?
- How Do Starlink Data Cap Compare Other Satellite Internet Services?
- How Much Data is Enough for a Family?
- Does Starlink Still Offer Data Cap?
- New Tier of Data Priority
- Starlink Data Cap: Final Verdict
What is Starlink Data Cap?
Starlink implemented a data cap in 2022. This wasn’t a hard data cap but rather a priority access during peak hours, 7 am to 11 pm.
According to the policy, Starlink residential users get a monthly 1TB priority access beyond which the connection depolarizes.
If you want to continue receiving high-speed data after you exceed the data cap, you will have to pay an extra $0.25 per GB.
By extra I mean on top of the $110 monthly charges.
How Did Starlink Data Cap Work?
The data cap or the priority access worked the same way for the Residential and Business Plans.
With this policy, you would get 1TB of priority data access every month.
Once you consume all your priority data for the month, Starlink puts you in basic access which may limit your internet speed during peak hours.
However, this plan allowed you to pay the $0.25 per GB extra to continue enjoying the priority access.
Contrary to what you would expect, there was nothing special for Business users when it came to the fair use priority.
Does Starlink RV have Data Caps?
Starlink RV users only get basic access data all the time. Therefore, the 1TB data cap did not apply to this plan.
Currently, there is no Starlink RV data cap but users get the least priority.
Why Did Starlink Introduce a Data Cap?
Starlink introduced a data cap with the aim of offering a balanced internet service to all its customers.
If everybody shares the available bandwidth anyhow, heavy data users cannot enjoy an internet connection.
To solve this, Starlink introduced a fair use policy that ensures you consistently get maximum speed even during peak hours.
A view of Starlink satellite at night
How Do Starlink Data Cap Compare Other Satellite Internet Services?
Other satellite competitors to Starlink have a stricter data cap. While Viasat and Hughenet will promise you unlimited data access, there is a data cap attached to it.
The amount of data cap will depend on the tier you subscribe to, which is either high-speed data or Standard data.
Once you exceed a high-speed data cap, you get a Standard data cap after that.
However, it is worth noting that the speed offered by these traditional satellites in high speed is lower than what you will get with Starlink standard.
That said, Viasat’s data cap ranges between 12-300 GB per month while Hughesnet is only 15-75 GB per month.
These are much lower than the 1000 GB that Starlink used to offer.
How Much Data is Enough for a Family?
An average US household can consume up to 536 GB of data every month. 1TB is equivalent to 1000 GB.
Meaning it is enough to take you throughout the month without experiencing depolarization.
You will need approximately 1.1 GB per hour for HD streaming. Full HD can consume 2.25 GB while 4K streaming consumes 9GB.
Does Starlink Still Offer Data Cap?
You no longer have to worry about the monthly data cap, as the company ruled out the 1TB data cap.
Starlink recently sent a message to users informing them that their subscriptions will now remain unlimited.
That is, the company will no longer depolarize your internet connection at any point, no matter the amount of data you consume.
What will make your access speed vary is the tier you subscribe to.
You can check the data usage graph of your app or your account dashboard and you will notice the limit is no longer there.
We also checked the list of support on their FAQ and the current version of fair use policy no longer mentions the residential data cap.
New Tier of Data Priority
Starlink data types now include mobile, standard and priority/Mobile Priority.
These data types determine the speed your internet traffic gets, and each Starlink plan uses either of these.
This is just a change in how Starlink describes its data prioritization.
Best Effort or Roam data priority is now known as Mobile. The Standard priority has priority over Mobile (Roam or best effort).
Business, Maritime, or Mobility uses mobile priority and will have priority over the rest of the customers.
In-motion use, which is only supported by flat High-Performance hardware, only uses mobile priority data.
Starlink Data Cap: Final Verdict
Starlink 1TB data cap was very important as users would enjoy priority access during peak hours.
This ensured activities that required great internet speed remained stable during congestion.
However, the company canceled this data cap barely a year after its introduction. Instead, they now offer unlimited data.
But there are data priorities and not every plan gets the same speed.