Cancelling Starlink is really a bittersweet moment for me. It was just over 2 years ago on Feb. 21st, 2021 that I released my first Starlink video called ‘Game Changer.’ I was absolutely giddy with excitement for this new technology that I 100% believed was going to change the world. That video garnered over 360,000 views on YouTube, and I went on to make over 20 videos on Starlink since then.
I mean – the tech was amazing. Being able to be anywhere on the planet and pull down high speed Internet from space – crazy right? I loved it – I still do actually, but unfortunately, I have now fallen out of love with the company, and the changes that they have implemented over the past few months.
Issues Upon Issues
Starlink always had its share of issues. It took a long time – years! – to roll out to many folks who were in need. There never seemed to be much rhyme or reason as to who got a dish and who didn’t. Then they rolled out their RV version, and it was kind of like a shortcut for people who wanted Starlink, but couldn’t get residential. The capacity of the network started to bog down over time, and it just didn’t seem like SpaceX could keep up with the demand. They oversubscribed their own network.
Customer Service Crash
The next thing that started going downhill was the customer service. At one point early on, my generation 1 dish (which came with Ethernet port capability out of the box) had an issue where the NIC wouldn’t negotiate to more than 100Mbps – I even made a video on it:
Back then, which was around June 2021, the Starlink customer service was still pretty good. As you can see from that video, I was able to work with their customer support through the app and ultimately got a replacement power supply for the Starlink, which fixed it.
Now however, you hear horror stories about Starlink customer support. As in – there really isn’t any at all. The Starlink app makes it almost impossible to get ahold of anyone – there’s no email address or phone number that customers can use, and it seems lately that the only real way to get in touch with them is to file a complaint with the FCC or the Better Business Bureau – those they seem to respond to when necessary. When Starlink customer support does respond, it all seems automated – the Starlink subreddit is filled with people complaining about issues, connectivity, and poor speeds with no way to actually get help.
Which – OK…maybe not the biggest issue for most people. After all – you’ve got this amazing $99/month unlimited Internet service! If it’s working, it’s working…as long as they don’t….
Uh-oh – first sign of trouble. Around March, 2022 I received a notice from Starlink that my price was going up to $110.00. An $11.00/month increase. Which…OK – not the end of the world. I can afford the extra $11 bucks and I’m sure anyone who is in love with Starlink as the only high-speed Internet option they can have would also not mind terribly that the price went up.
Right around that same time, they also announced Starlink for RV’s and a new portability service for the Residential service (which is what I had)…so OK – they raised the price a bit, but now I can move my Starlink dish somewhere else for $25 bucks more. Not the end of the world.
Then came price hike #2. In late February, 2023, I received another notice that the price of Starlink is going up – this time a $10.00 price hike. And actually – it wasn’t going up for everyone…for people that had Starlink in areas with ‘excess capacity,’ their price was actually going DOWN to $90.00/month.
Anecdotally, I posted to Twitter asking if anyone had received a ‘Your monthly price is doing down!’ notice, and I did actually hear from one person who received that notice – but it was amongst dozens of people who complained that their price, like mine, was going up.
So again – not the end of the world. I am lucky enough to be in a position where the videos I have made about Starlink on YouTube have more than covered the cost of the service. But even so – no one wants their price to go up…even a little bit. It’s annoying – but again…if you’re in an area where you ONLY have Starlink as an option for high-speed Internet, you’re going to pay the higher price…as long as they don’t….
This was hands down my biggest gripe with Starlink’s service changes. They implemented Data Caps on their Residential and Business customers. Meaning that your service is prioritized on the Starlink network until you hit a certain limit (1TB of data transfer for Residential), and then you either have to A) suffer with ‘best effort’ service (aka. low priority), or B) pay some serious money for keeping your high priority access. And by ‘serious money’ I mean $0.25/GB beyond the initial 1TB. Which can really add up – if you go 50% over, that’s an extra $125/month.
It was even worse for Starlink Business customers – not only do Business customers already pay $500+/month for the Starlink Business service (which – side note – I tested out myself, and found it to be rather lackluster in performance – certainly not worth $500/mo.), but they were also capped with a 1TB limit – and if you go over your limit as a Business customer, you are THROTTLED DOWN to 1Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. They don’t even switch Business customers to ‘low priority’ – they’re actually throttled down to the point that the service is UNUSABLE if they don’t pay to get back on priority access. And to kick Business customers while they’re down, the cost to get back to your normal service levels beyond the data cap is $1.00/GB.
The data caps for Residential are bad enough, but I really can’t even fathom the business decision-making process that went into the Starlink Business data caps. It feels like they almost wanted to completely sabotage their Business service altogether for some reason…so strange.
On the Residential side, when the 2nd round of price hikes were announced, Starlink also announced that they were removing the portability feature. This was the extra $25.00/month you could pay to make your dish ‘portable,’ or able to be used in multiple locations like the RV service. If you’ve never turned on portability, you will lose that capability entirely. If you have portability turned on for the extra $25/month, you can keep the service enabled, but as soon as you disable it, you can never re-enable it again.
So let’s sum this up. Over the course of 2 years, my service went from $99/month with unlimited data usage to $120/month with a 1TB data cap, and they removed the ability to make my dish portable. It was just too much to take – so I cancelled.
Now, I’m not here suggesting that everyone cancel their Starlink service – far from it. It’s just that in my particular situation, where Starlink was basically being used for me to create YouTube videos, and as a backup Internet connection in case my main Comcast Business cable connection went out, it’s no longer worth me keeping the service.
Additionally, I recently signed up for T-Mobile Home Internet, and that service has been great – I get unlimited data, and speeds from 300-600Mbps depending on the time of day, and it’s only $50.00/month. To me, T-Mobile Home Internet is a much better option as a backup Internet service.
I do fully understand and realize that people who really need Starlink because they live in a super rural area don’t have the option to have 5G Internet connectivity, or even terrestrial Internet connectivity. For those folks, Starlink is still amazing, and a really great value, though I would probably recommend to ANYONE that they get the RV service only – that way you don’t have to worry about data caps, and your service remains portable if you want to take it camping for the weekend.
Will I Go Back?
So again – my use case for Starlink is pretty unique…but will I ever go back? Maybe. But – if I do go back, I’ll be getting the RV service. The RV service has one extra special option that none of the other Starlink plans have – the ability to turn it on and off at will. It makes much more financial sense for me, who uses Starlink only as a backup Internet connection and to create YouTube videos to have the ability to disable it for the months that I’m not using it. So for now, I have cancelled my Residential service, and I’m going to sit here and save $120/month until the day I decide I want to get back on board the Starlink satellite train.
T-Mobile also has *superb* customer service. I found the device unusable in my primary location despite being within a supposedly ideal coverage area according to their maps. I spent several weeks trying different locations for the router to try to get things to work reasonably, but never managed to do so. On contacting their customer service, they very quickly agreed not only to take the router back immediately (covering all shipping costs), but also to refund me literally every single cent. The whole experience, while unsuccessful for me, didn’t cost me anything at all except the time I expended upon it. You really can’t ask for better than that!
This month, after the 2nd price hike and a decline to an average of 50Mbps down, I also cancelled my Residential Starlink service. I have 1Gb fiber at my house and Starlink was a back located at my barn. However, $120 is just too much when I can get 100Mb fiber for $45/month (taxes included) at my barn. The downside is the the fiber provider is one in the same for both so if my fiber goes down both locations go down. That was the upside to Starlink being a true backup=bummer.