Previously, SpaceX expressed little interest in having tiered plans for its Starlink Internet service. Now it is introducing a $500-per-month plan designed for businesses.
The $500 per month plan would come with speeds up to 500 Mbps. Customers will reserve their spot with a $500 deposit and the “Starlink kit,” which comes with a router and antenna, costs $2,500.
The standard plan costs $99 a month and promises speeds between 100 and 200 Mbps. The Starlink kits for the standard plan costs $499. SpaceX sells the kits at a loss and aims to bring the price down.
SpaceX plans to start delivering the premium plan as early as the second quarter of this year. Unlike the standard plan, which only provides service to a specific address, enterprise customers can connect from anywhere. This could make the plan useful for any business that relies on their employees being on the move or has a more “flexible” work environment.
“Starlink Premium has more than double the antenna capability of Starlink, delivering faster internet speeds and higher throughput for the highest demand users, including businesses,” says Starlink’s website. “Order as many Starlinks as needed and manage all of your service locations, no matter how remote, from a single account.”
Starlink terminals have already proven their ability to function in harsh winter conditions with an internal heating unit that, yes, can attract cats. SpaceX promises that the enterprise version of the terminals will be even more robust in frigid weather.
Starlink still advertises unlimited data, likely as part of its early bid to gain traction. Some competitors in the satellite Internet service niche charge by the gigabyte for access.
Unlike those competitors, Speedtest data indicates that Starlink is approaching the speed of “traditional” landline broadband Internet service. This will be useful in areas where Internet access is slow and expensive or simply non-existent. This may have sparked some jealousy from competitors like Amazon’s Kuiper Project and ViaSat, both of which have filed regulatory challenges to proposed changes to Starlink satellites and their orbits.
It had nearly 1,900 functional satellites in orbit, though a few defunct ones have deorbited and burned up in Earth’s atmosphere. To combat the space junk problem, Starlink trades information on the orbits of its space assets with NASA and its satellites can maneuver to avoid a collision.
Starlink says its constellation is technically capable of reaching most of Earth with its Internet service. In typical fashion for a venture headed by Elon Musk, though, regulations have proven to be the more challenging hurdle. Russia previously considered fining Starlink users in its country. SpaceX also recently had to issue refunds to users in India due to hiccups in the process of obtaining the appropriate licensing for Starlink.
If it can get past the worldwide hurdles, though, it can deliver high-speed, low-latency satellite Internet services to the communities that need it the most. Now it seems as interested in providing enterprise-level Internet access to businesses that need extra speed as it is in bringing Internet access to remote or low-income communities.