Elon Musk's Starlink service is rolling out a Premium Tier that can provide up to 500 Mbps, twice the bandwidth that can currently be achieved with the standard service. The new tier will charge $2,500 (around £1,850 / AU$3,500) for all of the required hardware, alongside a $500 (around £370 / AU$700) deposit fee and a $500 monthly subscription service.
While the price might be eye-wateringly high for consumers who can get the standard Starlink service for $99 a month, it's worth noting that this is targeting businesses in remote regions that are currently being forced to pay significantly higher rates for poor service. Starlink is promising a better experience for business. As the website puts it, "Starlink Premium delivers the same low latency with higher throughput allocation to serve small offices of 10-20 users, storefronts, and residential locations across the globe. Starlink Premium users can expect download speeds between 150 Mbps and 500 Mbps and latency as low as 20 ms in most locations"
While both download and upload speeds could be much higher, other performance considerations remain the same across both packages, with no improvement to service availability or latency.
As reported by WCCFTech, numerous letters were submitted to the FCC last year in support of Starlink's satellite modification. In one of these letters, a business owner in Alaska claims that his gold mine was paying more than $8,000 per month for a pitiful 2 Mbps speed and 750 ms latency. Under those circumstances, the Starlink Premium service could be an attractive upgrade.
Another difference between this Premium Tier and the Standard Tier is the ability to manage all of your service locations from a single account with access to 24/7 priority customer support. Musk also mentioned in a Tweet announcing the new service that this version will have a larger, more robust antenna that should reduce the chance of users being disconnected.
Starlink high performance antenna https://t.co/83kIQSNV3lFebruary 2, 2022
No official pricing has been revealed for those who live outside of the US, though the landing page for this new Premium tier seems to be available across every language and region already available on the site. According to an FCC filing, over 10,000 people enrolled in the public beta test back in 2020 across the US, Canada, and the UK, so it's likely we will get some region-specific price bands for those areas.
You'll have to order in advance to reserve one, and deliveries for the new terminal are not expected to arrive until Q2 2022, which means we're a few months off from learning if Starlink can live up to these promised performance boosts.
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.