I’m afraid I don’t have internet anymore because of Elon Musk’s whims around Starlink

JVTech News I’m afraid I don’t have internet anymore because of Elon Musk’s whims around Starlink

I’ve been a Starlink user since the early days, and I’m totally dependent on this means of connection in my home, and I can’t say that using it is like a long, calm river. Starlink is probably very innovative at times and often in the spotlight. Today, a new threat on Starlink with the arrival of the Data Cap.

Starlink, a subsidiary of SpaceX owned by Elon Musk, is a company which aims to democratize the internet around the world, regardless of your location on Earth. Diametrically opposed to a traditional satellite connection, Starlink is characterized by an immense network of satellites in low orbit. Starlink thus allows a very high speed connection with low latency for those who have forgotten the fiber.

Live in a very remote area, for many years I suffered severe degradation of ADSL services with increasingly slower speeds and repeated failures. Annoyed, I turned to Nordnet for a while, but that means of connection is totally incompatible with my gamer profile. In fact, the main hurdle for me when using Nordnet was the high latency that could exceed 650ms.

Starlink is therefore a key part of my home🇧🇷 At a time when telecommuting is being democratized, when streaming services have become the norm and/or games are becoming increasingly heavy, it was no longer possible for me to rely only on an abandoned and aging ADSL connection, which barely exceeded 2 Mega and without fiber for several years, the fault of incessant political disputes that further delay the arrival of this type of connection. So I’ve been a Starlink customer since May 2020.

However, this is not the first time that the service managed by Elon Musk has been in the spotlight. On April 5, 2022, following legal action by two ecological associations Priartem and Agir pour l’environnement, the State Council canceled the authorization given by Arcep to use two radio frequency bands for Starlink, rendering the service unusable in territory French.

The Council of State had criticized Arcep for not having carried out a public consultation before granting these precious authorizations. Arcep had to proceed urgently in early May 2022 with the missing public consultation. These 30 days of consultation allowed Arcep to receive just over 2,000 responses from Starlink customers and industry players. In view of the contributions received, Arcep took the decision to grant Starlink a new authorization for the use of frequencies.

I thought I was safe from this type of threat that detracts from the user experience, but a significant change is coming to US and Canadian customers with the arrival of the “Data Cap” forcing users not to exceed 1TB Data. This system aims to enable customers in the use of data in order to guarantee a fair experience for all. Starlink is therefore chasing big data users to better limit the expensive equipment put into orbit in order to better respond to more and more users.

I'm afraid I don't have internet anymore because of Elon Musk's whims around Starlink

A limit of 1TB per month

But what does 1TB of data represent? Personally, with 3 people in my house, including a teenager addicted to TikTok and with normal internet use via telecommuting + video games on several machines and streaming service like Netflix, Prime video or others. Thus, I hardly exceed 800/900 GB of data, despite what for me is intensive use.

This restriction, announced some time ago, starts with North American users. They are limited to 1TB of data per month. Once this fixed rate is reached, a cap is imposed. We do not yet know the nature of this limitation and what speed will then be applied.

I'm afraid I don't have internet anymore because of Elon Musk's whims around StarlinkI'm afraid I don't have internet anymore because of Elon Musk's whims around Starlink

Why such restrictions?

The number of customers continues to grow where the threshold of 700,000 users was exceeded last September, reducing the number of satellites in orbit. In North America, where the customer base is more concentrated, it involves more complicated network tension, forcing SpaceX to find solutions. The first is the 1TB limitation for users with the ability to purchase additional credits. Users can therefore choose to purchase additional data to regain priority for 0.25cts per additional GB.

But this is not the only track considered by Elon Musk’s firm. Aware of the challenge of its system, it will be imperative for SpaceX to find a lasting solution and it will have to look to the stars. Indeed, one of the solutions to manage the massive influx of users is the improvement of the Starlink satellites with a V2 version that should be launched in 2023/2024🇧🇷 This new generation of much larger and heavier satellites will be launched by Starship/SuperHeavy still in development.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Starlink service is much more popular than in Europe. The US and Canada suffer from a very poor global infrastructure, especially outside cities, forcing users to massively use Starlink. In Europe and especially in France, our network infrastructure, even if still very uneven, is much better, which brings the number of French customers at just 4000 (May 2022 issue).

SpaceX is therefore starting to introduce data restrictions in the US and Canada, like what NordNet has been offering for years. This 1TB limitation is not without compensation for the customer. For this “Data Cap” to be accepted, SpaceX reduced the price of the service by 50%, thus going from €100 to €50.🇧🇷 This is therefore good news for French customers. Not impacted at the moment by this “Data Cap” which, even if it went into service, would in any case be sufficient for 90% of the users of which I am a part.

What are the consequences once that 1TB has been consumed?

Once the 1TB of data is consumed, users will move from a “priority” offer to a “basic” access without having any information about what the latter represents. Some rumors indicate that this rate would be 1 Mb/s, which is obviously incompatible with the traditional use of the Internet these days. Such a reduced package no longer allows watching streaming videos, even in degraded format.

According to the email received, customers who exceeded 1TB in the billing month will see their connection change to “non-priority” without having further details at the moment. We can only guess that your throughput will depend on other nearby connected clients. SpaceX explains this choice in the email received by Starlink users last August (note that at that time the data limit was set at only 250GB🇧🇷

I'm afraid I don't have internet anymore because of Elon Musk's whims around Starlink

Under the Fair Use policy, all users will continue to have access to unlimited data. Users who consume 250 GB/month (Editor’s Note: Now at 1TB) or less data will be prioritized. Users exceeding 250GB/month will still have access to unlimited data, but may experience slower speeds during periods of network congestion.

However, if necessary, as large consumers cannot do without this service, it will be possible to purchase additional priority data. You will have to pay 0.25 cents per additional GB or $250 for an additional 1 TB. SpaceX ensures that only 10% of users regularly exceed the 1TB limit of data per month.

What does SpaceX say about this limitation in France?

Following my concern about the limitations imposed in the US and Canada, I contacted SpaceX for more information about possible restrictions in France. These were meant to be comforting. Some time later, I received an email confirming that no restrictions would be introduced in France for the time being. But nothing says that later, depending on the number of French customers, these restrictions could be applied as is the case in North America to guarantee a fair service for all.

Thanks to those who took the time to provide us with feedback on the Fair Use Policy. Based on your feedback, we’ve decided to update the terms and conditions of use for our residential service to remove the 250GB priority data limit. The service price remains unchanged at €50 per month and our residential customers can continue to enjoy unlimited data.

Starlink breaks the conventional way of accessing the internet. Its mode of operation linked to its growing popularity requires SpaceX to review some aspects to make data sharing fairer. Threatening in early May with a limitation of 250 GB, Elon Musk’s company revised its limitations upwards with a data limit of 1 TB, which is more than enough for 90% of users. Even if in Europe we are not affected by this data limit, it is quite possible that it will arrive later in our regions. Even if that happens, I’m not worried about Starlink’s future.

Steam connected with Starlink, download is fast and stable

I'm afraid I don't have internet anymore because of Elon Musk's whims around Starlink

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