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Does Starlink Offer Low-Income Internet?

Starlink did not participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program

Elon Musks’ Starlink internet is the only option for fast, low-latency connectivity in many parts of the U.S. However, it comes at a high price, even if you can prove you need financial assistance.

Starlink never participated in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which is slated to shut down in June of 2024 unless members of Congress allocate funding for it. That’s bad news for the millions of Americans who used it to get $30 off their internet bills every month.

For Starlink customers, the end of the ACP is not likely to make any difference at all.

We’ll give a quick overview of what the ACP was and what will happen when it ends. Then, we’ll offer a list of  Starlink competitors that offer budget plans and tell you how you might be able to save on Starlink services.

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What happens when the ACP ends?

The ACP subsidy worked by directly paying participating providers for each qualifying customer. The result was credits on customer bills. That subsidy was only partially funded in May, and it’s slated to run out by June. Because Starlink didn’t participate, neither it nor its customers benefited.

Unfortunately, new applications for the program ended in February. That means there’s no way to sign up for the subsidy now, even if you find a participating provider.

Alternatives to the ACP

The federally funded Lifeline program is the most widely available alternative to the ACP, offering $9.25 per month for either phone or internet service for qualifying customers. Subsidies may be higher on Tribal lands.

Starlink is not a Lifeline participant, but you may be able to sign up with a different provider. Get started by filling out a form with the Universal Services Administrative Co., which manages the program. You’ll need to prove eligibility for one of the following aid programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Medicaid
  • Tribal Programs for Native Americans

If you’re approved, your next step will be to choose a participating provider. You’ll get a list based on your zip code.

Other providers with low-income programs

Starlink costs $120 per month for residential use. You’ll also have to purchase a Starlink dish for $599, and you’ll be responsible for mounting it yourself (or paying a contractor to do the work).

If that pricing seems steep, you’re not wrong. But there’s a good chance you have other options, depending on your exact address. Below is a list of competing providers that offer budget plans or subsidies for low-income households.

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Other ways to save on Starlink internet

Starlink is premium satellite internet for a premium price, but there may be ways to eke out savings from time to time. Availability of the following options changes every day, but here’s what to look for:

Starlink equipment rental: In some places, Starlink offers a rental option for its equipment rather than requiring you to buy it outright. If that’s the case where you live, you will see the option during checkout. Then, you’ll be charged an activation fee plus a monthly fee for the rented gear. Starlink has not made pricing information public.

Refurbished Starlink dishes: Depending on where you live, you might have the option to buy a refurbished dish from Starlink. The cost of a refurbished V4 standard dish was reportedly $399 in January, but we haven’t seen the option in our markets for months.

Used Starlink equipment: You can buy used Starlink gear from individual sellers on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, and costs hover around $500 for a complete kit. In order to activate the dish, your seller will need a Starlink Identifier, which you can find on the back of the Starlink near the connector port. Your seller will also need to have followed specific steps to make the transfer possible.

Additional resources

Internet access is important for modern life, and we aim to help you find the best possible deal based on your location and financial need. Browse the following articles from our expert resource library as you consider your options.

Author -

Chili Palmer covers breaking news, satellite internet, mobile connectivity, and streaming services for Previously writing under the name Rebecca Palmer, Chili is passionate about providing accurate and accessible information any time you're trying to connect … whether you already speak geek or just got your first smartphone.

Editor - Jessica Brooksby

Jessica loves bringing her passion for the written word and her love of tech into one space at She works with the team’s writers to revise strong, user-focused content so every reader can find the tech that works for them. Jessica has a bachelor’s degree in English from Utah Valley University and seven years of creative and editorial experience. Outside of work, she spends her time gaming, reading, painting, and buying an excessive amount of Legend of Zelda merchandise.