Are you thinking about signing up for Starlink internet, and are wondering why it’s so expensive?
At $110 a month plus the hefty hardware fee to get your Starlink dish, this can certainly be a hefty investment just for high-speed internet.
But why is Starlink so expensive, and are there any plans for the price to drop?
In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!
1. It’s Meant For People Without Other Internet Options
First of all, it’s important to understand that if you believe Starlink is expensive, you may not necessarily be their target customer.
If you live in urban areas or already have high-speed cable / fiber internet available where you live, than Starlink probably is expensive – and probably a downgrade.
This is because if the infrastructure is already developed to your household, it’s probably cheaper for a company like Comcast or Spectrum to deliver comparable service than it is for Starlink.
Cable and fiber internet have higher potential speeds, far less latency, and more stable service. So if it’s available to you, than that’s probably what you’re going to want to go with.
Here’s the problem.
A huge percentage of the United States – and the world entirely for that matter, do not have those options.
In rural America, you may only have one or two internet providers, each giving you a fraction of the speed for nearly the same price – or in some cases, an even higher price.
Companies like Viasat or HughesNet realistically often deliver less than 1 mbps, even before their ridiculously low data caps are hit.
Meanwhile, here is my Speedtest result for Starlink’s RV service, which is even slower than their residential home service:
If you’re used to an older satellite internet company where even loading a web page like this one can take a significant amount of time, Starlink seems like a savior in comparison.
And considering how heavily integrated the internet is into our lives, Starlink seems incredibly cheap to be able to finally have high-speed internet available.
Quick Note: If you have DSL in your area but not cable / fiber, you may wish to keep your DSL line even if you order Starlink for higher speeds. This is particularly true if you do things that require low ping, such as online gaming. Having two ISPs in one house isn’t a problem, so I wanted to point that out!
2. It’s New Technology
Satellite internet has been around for a while, but the way Starlink handles things is completely different.
It’s important to keep in mind that Starlink was only launched in 2019, and is still building out their network of satellites.
In fact, rocket launches sending new Starlink satellites into orbit happens in some cases, multiple times a month.
Plans are in place to have as many as 42,000 Starlink satellites in orbit, in order to provide high-speed internet around the globe.
While SpaceX has made considerable progress in reducing the cost of rocket launches and space missions, launching 42,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit is undoubtedly very expensive.
Additionally, as time goes on satellites will need to be retired and the constellation will need to be maintained.
Providing a similar level of coverage will surely get cheaper as time goes on. Like most new technology however, it’s going to start out expensive, and get cheaper to deliver in years to come.
3. Prices Are Expected To Come Down Later
It’s certainly possible that prices for Starlink internet will come down as time goes on.
This isn’t only due to the fact that building and maintaining the network will become cheaper over time, but it is also a similar model that other Elon Musk companies have followed.
For example, Tesla started out as a car company that was seen as highly exclusive and expensive.
Then, the Model 3 was introduced as a mass-market car, with a cheaper price and much higher availability. Now, you can get one for around the similar price as other new cars.
There is a lot of speculation that the price will come down in the future – if anything, because countries with lower disposable income would not be able to afford Starlink at $110 a month.
Will lower plans also introduce lower speeds, or even potentially data caps? It’s hard to say for sure!
4. There Are No Extra Fees Or Data Caps
If you are a heavy internet user, this one is really important.
Unlike many other internet service providers, Starlink does not have any extra fees or data caps.
While residential Starlink customers can pay an additional $25 a month for mobility – the ability to use your Starlink dish at a place other than your service address, this is completely optional and the fees are made clear upfront.
For households that use a lot of data, the fact that there aren’t any caps is a huge bonus.
In the modern day, even Xfinity’s 1.2 TB cap isn’t that generous – and they charge an extra $30 a month to lift it!
Considering that Starlink allows you to comfortably stream 4K video (unlike most other rural internet options), it’s quite easy to hit the data caps that other ISPs would impose.
5. There’s A High Demand – And Limited Availability
Finally, we have to be realistic about what Starlink’s current infrastructure can handle.
Only a fraction of the planned number of satellites have been launched, and each one can only handle so much traffic at once.
By the same token, Starlink is revolutionary for those living in rural areas, and just about every internet user wants the drastically increased speeds that Starlink offers.
This has led to a huge supply and demand imbalance. Starlink base stations and cells are overloaded, and the congestion has caused some areas to experience speeds that have slowed down in recent times.
Obviously, this is something Starlink wants to avoid, which is why some areas aren’t yet even to order the residential version of Starlink yet.
Even if Starlink were to raise the prices, it is unlikely their total number of customers would suffer. The demand is simply too high, so pricing it more expensive right now helps provide the finances needed to further build out the network.
Unfortunately, at $110 a month Starlink is still quite expensive when compared to other internet service providers.
That being said, if it’s the fastest internet option available in your area, it may still seem like a great deal.
I hope that you’ve found this article insightful. If you have any other questions about Starlink, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister