Darren Clark lives in Michigan, where he used to receive dismal internet speeds ranging from 2.5Mbps to 3.5Mbps. The DSL internet was so bad he’d have to drive his family elsewhere to find faster broadband and finish software and game downloads. “Many times, we ended up going to McDonald’s or out to the local Meijer grocery store for internet access,” he tells PCMag. But in recent days, Clark’s home internet is getting speeds between 10Mbps and 100Mbps. The reason? He’s among the first people to try out Starlink's "Best Effort" tier, the latest offering from SpaceX’s satellite internet service. “I have to say Starlink Best Effort is a life saver for me and my family,” he says. “My kids are amazed that a 1GB download can finish in a couple of minutes instead of one hour.”The Best Effort tier is SpaceX’s attempt to address the huge pre-order backlog for Starlink, which has been struggling to meet demand as the network is stretched to capacity. Clark had been on a waitlist since he placed a pre-order on Feb. 8, 2021. The current areas across the US on the Starlink waitlist. So last month, SpaceX began offering select pre-order customers an alternative in the Best Effort Tier. Users invited to the program can get access to the Starlink network, but at slower download speeds that can range from 5Mbps to 100Mbps—a significant downgrade from the typical 50-200Mbps speeds for the residential Starlink service. In an email to invited customers, SpaceX added: "Best Effort users will be deprioritized behind Residential users." Naturally, the announcement caused a bit of consternation since the Best Effort tier charges the same monthly $110 fee as the standard Starlink service. However, PCMag spoke to six early users of the Best Effort Tier, and all said Starlink has been a huge improvement from their previous internet providers.“I am very pleased with Starlink. I now have affordable, year-round internet,” says Michael Schaffer, who lives in Ontario, Canada.Depending on how much data he consumed, Schaffer used to pay 300 to 600 in Canadian dollars ($230 to $460) for monthly internet access with an LTE cellular provider. In return, he received speeds up to 15Mbps for downloads and 3Mbps for uploads. Through Starlink, Schaffer now pays far less for broadband speeds that typically reach 80 to 120Mbps for downloads and 7 to 20Mbps for uploads. “People that say that Starlink is expensive do not appreciate how expensive rural internet can be,” he says, noting he’d have to pay 600 Canadian dollars for monthly internet access when he worked from home. He now plans on subscribing to more streaming services, thanks to Starlink. Starlink Best Effort dishA lot of the praise is also related to how dismal the internet situation can be for users living in rural areas, where broadband access can be dreadfully slow, with few alternatives. Kevin Wells in Tennessee tells PCMag he used to receive internet speeds between 1 to 2Mbps by relying on his cellular provider. Now through Starlink, he’s receiving download rates between 8 to 25Mbps. The Starlink speeds are relatively slow compared to what SpaceX advertises. Nevertheless, Wells says the broadband quality has been a huge improvement from before. “All I use it for is working from home, Zoom meetings and it does just fine for that,” he says. “My 7-year-old likes to stream Disney+ and he hasn't had any trouble streaming at all.”Others like Vicki Sproul, who also lives in Tennessee, are enjoying even higher internet speeds through Starlink’s Best Effort tier with no lag. “My experience thus far has went way beyond my initial expectations. The speeds run anywhere between 40 and 160 (in Mbps downloads). It has been a game changer,” she says. The improved broadband from Starlink has also relieved the stress with her previous internet provider, a 4G cellular network. “We weren't able to utilize all of our devices in fear that we would run out of data,” she says. “I work from home so it was a daily ritual to turn off the internet every day to make sure I had enough. So Starlink has surely made a profound difference in our lives.”Despite the praise, in recent months Starlink has faced criticism from those experiencing shaky broadband quality. A surge in users is causing congestion over the satellite internet network, which can drag down speeds for subscribers in a surrounding cell area. So whether Starlink’s Best Effort tier will leave you satisfied may depend on your current internet situation. “For people that are in the same situation as me, yes, I would, and have recommended it,” says Darren Clark. “As for congestion, I do realize that more Starlink users in my area equals worse conditions for me and others, but I feel the people at Starlink are doing their best to keep the situation from becoming intolerable.” Clark adds that his Starlink speeds will decline to 5 to 30Mbps in the evenings, during peak hours. Others like Robby McBryant in Georgia are glad to have signed up for the Best Effort tier, despite encountering a bit of congestion. His home internet speeds used to range from 0.5 to 1Mbps. “Internet pages took about five minutes to load and computers two days to update,” he says. “If one of our TVs was updating, we could not get anything to stream, not even YouTube.”Now Bryant’s home internet can reach 5Mbps to as high as 80Mbps during peak hours when the network is busy. “Starlink is a great service,” he adds.Curious about Starlink setup? PCMag's Brian Westover lives in rural Idaho and walked us through the process and his initial impressions.