SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink is getting an expensive new high-performance tier called Starlink Premium. Announced by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the new service includes a larger high-performance antenna and advertises speeds between 150 and 500 Mbps (20 to 40 ms latency), up from the 50 to 250 Mbps (20 to 40 ms latency) promised by the regular service. Premium also claims about double the upload speeds of 20 to 40 Mbps, compared to 10 to 20 Mbps for the standard tier.
This performance boost doesn’t come cheap. While the basic Starlink service costs $499 for the hardware and $99 per month, Starlink Premium costs $2,500 for the antenna and $500 per month. Deliveries will start in the second quarter of this year. There is also a $500 deposit to reserve a Premium dish. Starlink’s website says the new tier targets “small offices, storefronts and super users around the world”.
This is twice the area of our standard phased array with a wider scan angle
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 2, 2022
In addition to the faster speeds, Starlink also promises that its Premium service will perform better in “extreme weather conditions” and that its customers will have access to 24/7 prioritized support. Here’s Starlink’s performance comparison of its two tiers:
This is the second new satellite dish that Starlink has started taking orders for in the past 12 months. In November, it unveiled a more compact rectangular shell, which is thinner and lighter than the company’s previous round shell.
The big question is whether the new Premium tier can provide a more consistent service than what we experienced when we tried Starlink for ourselves last May. While it was fast, sometimes exceeding 100Mbps, we found that the connection often slowed down and dropped. It meant that using services like Zoom, or playing online games, wasn’t really an option with the satellite-based internet service. But with new hardware and hundreds more satellites launched in the months since, chances are Starlink service has improved for many.