SpaceX's satellite broadband service Starlink said that users who consume more than 1TB per month of its high-speed internet access per month could find themselves moved to a potentially slower tier.
Starlink is tweaking its Fair Use Policy for residential customers in the US and Canada, allowing them to use up to 1TB of data a month on its Priority Access service. If users exceed that amount in a month, they may be moved on to Basic Access for the network.
Starlink says it's not a "hard data cap" and that it still offers unlimited data, but it's now reserving the right to deliver slower speeds on Basic Access if users exceed 1TB of data in a month.
Starlink says Priority and Basic Access should be the same in un-congested areas or at times of low users. But if users are in these areas or times, streaming videos and other "intensive applications" like games will most likely be affected.
The email to users explains the new terms a little more clearly than the fair user policy page, but they say the same thing.
Basically, now there's a Priority Access data limit of 1 TB "during peak hours", which is between 7AM to 11PM, while data usage between 11PM and 7AM will not count towards Priority Access monthly data limit.
"In the last last six months, you have used over 1 TB of data during at least one month, which means you may be switched to Basic Access if your usage patterns stay the same," states the emails Reddit users have posted.
In the email to customers, SpaceX notes that currently less than 10% of customers exceed 1 TB of data use per month. There's no way for users to opt out of the updated policy other than by canceling the service.
SpaceX explains the new policy is to ensure customers aren't negatively impacted by a small number of users. The company explains it is trying balance supply and demand. "Starlink is a finite resource that will continue to grow as we launch additional satellites. To serve the greatest number of people with high speed internet, we must manage the network to balance Starlink supply with user demand."
As The Verge notes, Starlink's new high speed limit in the US is now roughly in line with Comcast and other ISPs, which have 1.2 TB data caps.
Starlink in August announced a similar policy for users in France, notes PC Mag. But Starlink is handling it quite differently there, slowing down access after a user exceeds 250 GB in a month. However, Starlink also reduced the monthly fee in France from €100 to €50, and offers them the option to purchase Priority Access for €10 per 100 GB (1 cent per GB).