Starlink is a satellite broadband division of SpaceX, an Elon Musk founded company. Unlike previous satellite internet systems, Starlink utilizes a constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites that is intended to provide redundant, high-speed, low-latency, global internet coverage in the future.
The Starlink system is still being launched into orbit and is not yet available to consumers; it is in beta by invitation only. A public beta-test began rolling out in late October of 2020 in northern areas for fixed location applications (non-mobile).
Starlink Consumer Hardware & Service Plans
There are a few details available on the service plans and equipment for consumer stationary Starlink, but no information yet on availability for mobile use in RVs or boats.
In a 2019 interview, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell teased a few details about what Starlink is planning for the consumer experience. It seems Starlink intends to sell directly to consumers the same way that Elon Musk's Tesla company sells cars by bypassing partners and dealers.
In October 2020, Starlink beta began rolling out for fixed locations, with pricing of:
- The Starlink user terminal (packaged with a basic tripod mount and a companion indoor Wi-Fi router) will cost $499
- for an extra $99 you can order additional hardware for mounting onto a residential roof
- Monthly subscription costs are set at $99/mo - and though the fine print details have not yet been shared, it seems that the terms will allow for unlimited data.
RVer & Boater Reality Check!
Some RVers and cruisers are already dreaming of ditching their cellular plans, hoping that Starlink will be able to deliver on the dream of global coverage, gigabit speeds, and low-latency connections.
But will Starlink really be able to eliminate the need for cellular data plans?
Starlink is an LEO satellite constellation more ambitious than any that has ever been constructed before.
The advantage of having satellites at lower orbits is that they are physically close enough to users on the ground to provide fast low-latency communications rivaling 4G - and even 5G - cellular.
However, there will be challenges for RVers and boaters using Starlink, at least initially. Including equipment, coverage, clear line of sight, and potential congestion issues. All of these mean that replacing other mobile internet options with Starlink is likely to not be realistic except for those who primarily stick to open terrain remote areas.
Here is a video version of a SpaceX Starlink Reality Check for RVers and Boaters:
Review & Testing Status
We hope to have access to a Starlink unit when available to mobile consumers. No one on our team is likely to qualify for the public stationary beta, however we have some MIAs who are sharing their experience.
- In Progress Forum: SpaceX Starlink - Satellite Broadband Internet
Potential Alternatives to Consider:
For other featured mobile satellite options:
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- Starlink (sign up for availability in your area)