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Thursday, March 23, 2023

In Surprising Move, Starlink Hikes Monthly Prices Across the Board

According to a fresh email sent out to clients this afternoon and obtained by The Verge, SpaceX’s internet-from-space initiative Starlink is raising pricing for both the purchase of Starlink kits and the monthly subscription. “The primary goal of these modifications is to keep pace with growing inflation,” the corporation claims.

Previously, joining Starlink required the purchase of a $499 beginning kit that included all of the essential components, including a user terminal, or antenna, for connecting to SpaceX’s satellites. Customers would then be charged $99 a month to keep the service going.

The new monthly charge will be $110 from now on. The Starlink kit will now cost $599 for all new orders, and anyone who placed a deposit on the original $499 kit will have to pay $549 instead. For various clients, the new monthly costs will take effect at different times.

The new charges appear to be distinct from Starlink’s premium service, which costs $2,500 for the kit and $500 per month for improved performance. Despite the fact that SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell had previously stated that the business had no intentions to introduce premium levels to the service, the new Starlink Premium service was announced this year.

SpaceX’s ambitious Starlink program aims to launch tens of thousands of satellites to provide global broadband Internet access. Users must point their user terminal at a vast area of open sky to connect with whichever satellites are overhead in order to use the system.

SpaceX’s multiple ground stations on Earth, which are connected to existing fiber-optic infrastructure, then transfer signals to those satellites. According to CNBC, SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites so far, and a SpaceX official said last week that Starlink had 250,000 customers globally. Thousands of SpaceX terminals were recently given to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian authorities.

When SpaceX initially began delivering Starlink to consumers, the cost of building each user antenna was around $3,000, implying that the company was selling its kits at a loss. Shotwell reported in April of 2021 that SpaceX had managed to reduce the building cost to roughly $1,300 per terminal. According to PC Mag, she promised in August that the user terminals SpaceX built by the end of 2021 will cost “about half of what our present user terminals cost.”

SpaceX emphasized its newest system upgrades in an email to Starlink users announcing the price bump. “The Starlink team has tripled the number of satellites in orbit, doubled the number of ground stations, and made continual enhancements to our network since introducing our public beta service in October 2020,” the email added. “Users should anticipate Starlink to keep up its pace of ongoing network enhancements and new feature additions in the future.” There were no specifics on whether or if there will be more price increases.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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