Starlink currently has several internet plans and there are new plans coming out every few months.
In this article, I explain what's good and bad about each of those Starlink plans and whether it could be a good choice for your needs.
|Starlink Residential||The most popular plan for home-use||$90 or $120|
|Starlink Residential+Portability||In home-use plus traveling occasionally||$135|
|Starlink RV||Constant travellers, RV'ers||$135|
|Starlink Best Effort Service||Deprioritized service until eligible for Starlink residential||$110|
|Starlink Business||High-performance plan, more expensive||$500|
|Starlink Maritime||For use on boats and ships||$5000|
Starlink Residential Plan
The Starlink residential plan is the most popular plan for Starlink internet.
It allows you to use Starlink internet at your registered service address.
- No deprioritization up to 1 TB
The most significant advantage to this plan is that users of this plan are given top priority compared to other Starlink users (RV, portability, Best effort) by Starlink during periods of network congestion.
This advantage comes into play during peak hours (5 PM-11 PM) when everyone's at home and starts using their Starlink internet.
However if you exhaust the monthly priority access data of 1 TB, you only get deprioritized service for the rest of the billing cycle, which Starlink calls basic access.
- Long waitlists in some states
- Cannot be paused
Starlink residential has a long waitlist in many southern and midwest states of the USA.
This doesn't apply to you if you live outside the USA as there's no waitlist anywhere else.
In fact, the waitlist in some areas is so bad that users who pre-ordered their Starlink in mid-2021 did not get Starlink even in 2023 as promised by Starlink.
Starlink had to launch a best-effort service to those users who got frustrated after waiting for more than a year.
In other states (without waitlist) of the USA, you can order Starlink residential and get it in your hands within two weeks.
Check if Starlink is available in your area to know if you live in an area with a waitlist.
All Starlink plans are without a contract, meaning they can be canceled anytime without a penalty.
Quick Facts: Starlink Residential
|Purchase Fee (Onetime) for Hardware||$599|
|Monthly Recurring Fee||$90 (high-traffic regions) or $120 (low-traffic regions)|
|Download Speeds||50-200 Mbps|
|Data Cap||1 TB|
Starlink Residential with Portability
Starlink allows a feature called portability as an add-on with Starlink residential for an extra fee of $25/month that lets you use your Starlink anywhere on your continent.
- Use Starlink anywhere on the continent.
With this plan, you're no longer tied to just your service address.
You can take your dish with you whenever you travel and use the internet anywhere within the continent.
Note that this is just a feature that you can opt for in your Starlink customer portal and it doesn't require any kind of new hardware.
Since you first need to qualify for Starlink residential to get the portability plan (or feature), the waitlist for residential applies here.
- Extra monthly fee
- Deprioritized Service at secondary locations
You need to pay this extra monthly as long as you've opted for the portability feature.
Also, billing is done for a full billing cycle and not on a pro-rata basis.
If you realize you don't need to travel anytime soon even a few days into your billing cycle, you'll be charged the full $25 fee even if you cancel it then.
Another thing to note is that you'll only get deprioritized service at locations outside your service address.
What does Deprioritized Service mean for Starlink?
During periods of network congestion (peak hours) deprioritized users can experience slower Starlink Internet speeds and higher latency to give priority to Starlink residential users in their home cells.
This deprioritized service is called basic access.
This is actually a good thing. If you are a Starlink residential user, users coming into your Starlink cell can cause speed drops if they are not deprioritized.
If you live in an area that still has a lot of cell capacity, you're unlikely to experience the effects of deprioritization.
Deprioritization applies to Starlink portability users at secondary locations (outside registered primary service addresses), Starlink RV users, and Starlink best-effort users.
Starlink RV Plan
The Starlink RV plan is for those who wish to constantly move around and want Starlink internet everywhere they go.
- No waitlist
- Permanently portable
- Can be paused anytime
The biggest advantage of Starlink RV is that there's no waitlist for it like Starlink residential.
You order and you can get it in the next two weeks.
This can be a great way to skip the Starlink waitlist and avoid waiting a year for your Starlink.
The second advantage compared to Starlink portability is that you can stay at any location for however long you want without worrying about any service address change.
With Starlink portability, the maximum duration you can stay anywhere outside your service address area is 2 billing cycles.
Here's a quick comparison of Starlink RV with Starlink portability.
|Starlink RV||Starlink Portability|
|Priority||Deprioritized Everywhere||Deprioritized at Secondary Locations|
|Waitlist||No waitlist||Waitlist in some states|
|Pausing||Can be paused fully anytime||The portability fee can be paused|
Starlink RV can be paused anytime you wish for months long.
This is a great advantage if you have another internet service available but want to use Starlink during some months when that service is unavailable.
With Starlink residential plus portability, you can pause the portability feature to save $25 per month, but you need to keep paying the base $90/month for residential and that cannot be paused.
With Starlink RV, you save $135/month fully when you pause.
- Deprioritized everywhere
The disadvantage to Starlink RV is that you will be deprioritized everywhere as explained earlier to give Starlink residential users a priority.
You're most likely to face the effect of deprioritization in areas of low capacity on the Starlink map during peak hours.
With Starlink portability, when you go back to your registered service address you don't get deprioritized.
The dish for Starlink RV is the same as Starlink residential. There's no hardware difference and the purchase fee is also the same.
However, you cannot convert your Starlink RV to Starlink residential or the other way around.
Quick Facts: Starlink RV
|Purchase Fee (Onetime) for Hardware||$599|
|Monthly Recurring Fee||$135|
|Download Speeds||50-200, 5-100*|
|Data Cap||None, but deprioritized|
*Expected speeds in congested areas during times of high usage.
Starlink Best Effort Service
Starlink's best-effort service was launched in August 2022 to address the huge backlog of pre-orders of Starlink residential.
This makes available a deprioritized service for users who waited a year after pre-ordering their Starlink.
The best-effort service plan is invite-only. This means you need to get the mail from Starlink offering the service to you and you cannot choose it yourself.
It's being sent only to users who've been on the waitlist for a very long time.
The features of this plan are almost the same as Starlink residential except that you get a deprioritized service even in your home cell.
The fee you pay is also the same as Starlink residential which is a bit disappointing since you get deprioritized service.
However, you can pause the service anytime you want unlike Starlink residential, which is a definite advantage.
Why should you opt for best effort over Starlink RV?
If your primary goal is to have Starlink residential and not travel around, Starlink's best effort is a better choice over an RV for you.
With the best-effort service, you get converted to Starlink residential as soon as your turn comes on the waitlist.
You continue holding your place on the waitlist for Starlink residential and can use this best-effort service until then.
Starlink RV users do not have the option to convert to Starlink residential ever.
Starlink business is a high-performance plan for commercial users with higher speeds and greater throughput.
- Higher Speeds
- Lower Latency
- A more powerful, larger dish
- 24/7 prioritized customer support
- Publicly routable IPv4 address.
According to Starlink, business users can expect download speeds of up to 350 Mbps and latency of 20-40ms.
This plan is intended for offices with up to 20 users.
The dish that you get with Starlink business is called the "high-performance dish" which is larger (22"x20") in size compared to the residential dish.
According to user reports, Starlink business users experience much lower downtimes and outages, especially during bad weather situations.
Another advantage they advertise is the 24/7 prioritized customer support for business users.
Most internet services give prioritized support to business customers, so this is kind of expected.
However, just like Starlink's customer support for non-business users, the customer support for business users is nothing great.
Starlink business comes with a publicly routable IPv4 address.
The advantages this feature presents are several.
- hosting a server is simple
- Connecting to VPNs and remote access is easier.
- VoIP calls and video conferencing work better
While it's possible to overcome this using special services even when you have a dynamic IP, this makes things much easier for businesses.
Disadvantages of Starlink Business:
- Not much better than residential in reality
Starlink business users aren't very happy paying the extra fee.
A lot of users are complaining that the actual speeds that they're getting with Starlink business aren't much better than what they get with residential.
Of course, this could vary wildly, but it's something you should be aware of.
Quick Facts: Starlink Business
|Purchase Fee (Onetime) for Hardware||$2,500|
|Monthly Recurring Fee||$500|
|Download Speeds||100-350 Mbps|
|Data Cap||1 TB|
Starlink's maritime service is for use on large commercial boats, yachts, and ships for use in the sea.
It costs a hefty $10,000 for the hardware and a $5,000 monthly recurring fee.
Clearly, this isn't for your sea rays or bay liners.
While it's too expensive for smaller boat owners, Starlink maritime has disrupted the world of maritime internet services.
For starters, it's quite a bit cheaper than most other maritime internet services.
I go more in-depth on this topic here- Starlink Maritime vs Other Maritime Internet Options.
Maritime service can be paused and unpaused anytime which is great if your business is seasonal.
Starlink maritime is available in coastal areas of the USA, Europe, and Oceania. It's yet to be available in most other areas.
Starlink has planned a rollout in other areas too in the next 2 years to make it available universally in all marine waters.
Quick Facts: Starlink Maritime
|Purchase Fee (Onetime) for Hardware||$10,000|
|Monthly Recurring Fee||$5,000|
|Download Speeds||100-350 Mbps|
|Data Cap||5 TB|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Starlink faster than fiber?
Starlink is not faster than fiber and never will be. Ground-based hardwire connections such as fiber have several inherent advantages which make them much faster and several times more stable. Satellite internet such as Starlink's performance depends on several external variables making it slower than fiber internet.