How the tables have turned!
Residential users of Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet might have a new — and incredibly annoying — reason to get offline. Per SpaceX's new fair use policy, Musk is about to start throttling users' service if they use over 1TB per month data cap. That's not a totally meager amount, but you could easily burn through it by downloading a handful of modern video games.
In other words, if Starlinkers go over that cap, the company will intentionally slow their service down, automatically moving users from faster "Priority Access" to a lagging "Basic Access." Unless users cough up some cash for every extra gigabyte used, that is.
"Starlink is a finite resource that will continue to grow as we launch additional satellites," reads the policy, essentially chalking the frustrating change up to organizational growing pains. "To serve the greatest number of people with high speed internet we must manage the network to balance Starlink supply with user demand."
If there's any bright spot to the new policy — which, we should note, is far from the strangest that Musk's ever tacked to his ISP — it's that any internet usage between 11 PM and 7 AM won't count towards that monthly data cap. That in mind, you might want to make sure any big downloads take place overnight.
Of course, it's not completely unheard of for ISPs to turn to data caps, especially as they grow. And according to SpaceX, which was already struggling with service slowdowns, the change will only impact the roughly 10 percent of users that they say are going over that monthly 1TB mark. This way, as the logic goes, all Starlink customers will get a better experience, without the few slowing down the entire network for the lot.
To that point, though, while it might not be an uncommon move for an ISP to make, it's a far cry from Starlink's previous data-capping policy — which, well, was "no data caps." Sure, growing pains happen. But Musk's made a habit of making promises he can't keep, data caps for Starlink now being just the latest example.
READ MORE: SpaceX adds data restrictions for Starlink power users [CNBC]