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Starlink Customers Get a Short Reprieve From Data Caps

Trey Paul Senior Editor
Trey Paul is a CNET senior editor covering broadband. His 20+ years of experience as a writer and editor include time at CNET's sister site, Allconnect, and working with clients like Yahoo!, Google, The New York Times and Choice Hotels. An avid movie fan, Trey's career also includes being a film and TV critic while pursuing a degree in New York.
Expertise Home internet and broadband, including plans, providers, internet speeds and connection types. Movies and film studies. Credentials
  • Master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and interviews with Conan O'Brien, Stan Lee and some of his biggest Star Trek childhood idols
Trey Paul
2 min read
Starlink satellites in the sky with a phone and Starlink logo

Starlink satellites in the sky with a phone and Starlink logo

James Martin/CNET

What's happening

In early November, Starlink said that it would get rid of unlimited data and move to a data cap system for all customers starting in December 2022. It's now delaying that policy change until April.

Why it matters

It's not quite a holiday miracle, but it's good news for Starlink customers accustomed to unlimited data. This key differentiator between Elon Musk's service and its satellite internet competitors will still go away, but not quite as suddenly.

It turns out the Grinch didn't steal all the goodies from Starlink customers this December. In November, Elon Musk's satellite internet service revealed it would enact a data cap of 1 terabyte per month for all customers in the US and Canada starting sometime in December. Now, that move has been pushed back until April.

"To ensure our customer base is not negatively impacted by a small number of users consuming unusually high amounts of data, the Starlink team is implementing a fair use policy for residential customers in the US and Canada… beginning no earlier than April 2023," it now says on the company's website.

This new start date appears to be the only change from what Starlink announced in November. Per the Starlink fair use policy, the monthly data cap will still be 1TB, and any customers who blow past that limit within their 30-day billing cycle will have their service deprioritized, resulting in much slower download speeds.

Locating local internet providers

This news comes on the heels of Ookla's recent analysis showing that Starlink's performance dipped for the second consecutive quarter in 2022. The speed-testing company's data revealed that Starlink's median download speeds in the US were at 53 megabits per second, which fell from 63Mbps in the second quarter, and significantly below 100Mbps at the end of 2021. 

Will the looming data cap help stem the downturn in download speeds? Time will tell, but at least current Starlink customers won't have to deal with such a change in the middle of the hectic holiday season. 

Locating local internet providers