Starlink service degraded: 20Mbps, 1TB data cap

Ugly changes in the Terms of Service for Starlink: residential customers have been degraded to 20-100Mbps expected download (from 50-200). Uploads are now 5-15, down from 10-20. Latency has also crept up: 25-50ms now, not 20-40. And a new unwelcome feature, a 1TB / month soft data cap before speeds are further degraded.

Starlink sure has fallen a long way from “no data caps! great latency for gaming! 100+Mbps!”. OTOH this new service level is at least closer to what they actually deliver. Over the last 90 days I’ve been getting 90Mbps average download speed with nightly slowdowns to 10Mbps. Uploads of 6.6Mbps and latency 55ms.

TBH the data cap is not a disaster; the average American household uses 513GB / mo although 15% use 1TB or more. It’s a soft cap, you get degraded to 5-50Mbps if you go over (or you can buy more). And the 1TB cap is defined in terms of “peak hours” but then that’s 7am to 11pm, or the 16 hours people are awake. I can make good use of the uncapped hours though with automated downloads.

What I don’t like about caps is how opaque they are to users. Starlink has added a daily usage graph so you can at least see what you’re using. But there’s no way to see what is using your data. And ordinary users don’t have tools to manage data usage; there’s no good way to use less.

Starlink still hasn’t communicated anything to its customers, we only know about this change from a TOS update. It seems unlikely we’ll get any sort of price break, just expected to accept the degraded service. Update now there’s an email to customers over the cap. Also a link to their so-called “Fair Use Policy” which explains the throttling.

Update 2: they sure botched this rollout. They emailed customers whether they had been over cap in the past but told a bunch of people the wrong thing, so sent a second email correcting it. They also told business users they would be throttled to 1 Mbps; obvious nonsense, but again required a correction. And all that on top of the original, probably mistaken quiet non-announcement via a TOS update.

For the record: archive links for Oct 6 2022 (pre-cap) and Nov 4 2022 (with cap).