SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink is getting a pricey 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 of between 150 and 500Mbps (20 to 40ms latency), up from the 50 to 250Mbps (20 to 40ms latency) promised by its regular service. Premium also claims roughly double the upload speeds at 20 to 40Mbps, compared to 10 to 20Mbps for the standard tier.
This increase in performance doesn’t come cheap. While the base Starlink service costs $499 for the hardware and $99 a month, Starlink Premium will cost $2,500 for the antenna, and $500 a month. Deliveries are due to start in the second quarter of this year. There’s also a $500 deposit to reserve a Premium dish. Starlink’s website says the new tier is targeting “small offices, storefronts, and super users across the globe.”
As well as its increased speeds, Starlink also promises that its Premium service will perform better in “extreme weather conditions” and that its customers will get 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 last 12 months. In November it unveiled a more compact rectangular dish, that’s thinner and lighter than the company’s previous circular dish.
The big question is whether the new Premium tier is able to offer a more consistent service than what we experienced when we tried Starlink out for ourselves last May. Although it was fast, with speeds sometimes in excess of 100Mbps, we found that the connection would frequently slow down and drop out. It meant that using services like Zoom, or playing games online, weren’t really an option with the satellite-based internet service. But with new hardware and hundreds more satellites having launched in the months since, there’s every chance the Starlink service will have improved for many.