SpaceX has begun upgrading subscribers in Ontario from its Best Effort tier up to the full fledged Residential service this week. The upgrades are starting to happen after SpaceX was able to launch their new Starlink satellites to improve network performance.
Facing longer and longer waitlists for Starlink services, SpaceX deployed a new strategy last August to help get customers subscribed to the satellite internet service in areas where it was already at capacity. There was a catch though as Best Effort subscribers received “deprioritized service,” meaning they would have slower internet speeds. While these subscribers paid the same monthly fee as Residential subscribers, SpaceX did offer them a concession as they could pause their service at any time.
When the Best Effort tier was released SpaceX said customers would be upgraded to Residential service when network capacity in their area improved. That has apparently happened, at least in parts of Ontario, as SpaceX has begun sending emails to customers notifying them they are being upgraded to Residential service.
According to the email SpaceX was able to allow more Residential subscribers on to the network thanks to the launch of its new Starlink V2 mini satellites. The upgrade was also attributed to more satellites in orbit and optimization of the network itself.
“This upgrade is made possible through the introduction of Starlink’s higher performing satellites, SpaceX’s faster launch rate, and the continuous deployment of software features to optimize the Starlink network,” the email reads. (via Reddit)
Based on reports on Reddit this upgrade so far appears to be limited to Ontario, with customers in Ottawa, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, and other regions of the province receiving the email. According to initial tests these customers are seeing the promised increase in speed by moving to Residential service.
Interestingly, customers are being upgraded even though Starlink’s availability map shows much of southern Ontario is still unavailable to new subscribers, with an expected expansion date of “2023.”