Trying to sign up for satellite internet service from Starlink typically means adding yourself to a long wait list. But a new service from Starlink offers a potential workaround where you can get the necessary equipment with absolutely no wait time.
We are talking about Starlink RV, launched this week by the company as an internet service for RV owners or people who like camping or road trips. Starlink RV includes a portable dish that promises to provide internet connectivity anywhere.
Best of all, if you subscribe to Starlink RV, the company will ship a Starlink dish to you right away. In comparison, buying a regular Starlink dish right now will put you on a waitlist until 2023.
Before you rush out to get Starlink RV, though, note that it's a little bit different than the standard Starlink service. Starlink RV is pretty expensive, costing $135 for the internet service, or $25 more than a regular Starlink connection. The dish itself will cost a massive $599.
You can also pay for your internet service as you go, giving users the flexibility to pause and unpause at any time. But the biggest catch with Starlink RV is that service will always be deprioritized in favor of standard Starlink customers. Plus, you can’t rely only on Starlink RV for your internet going into the wilderness because you’ll only receive Starlink broadband in areas where SpaceX provides active internet coverage.
So if you live in an area, or are traveling to an area marked as "coming soon" on Starlink's coverage map, signing up for Starlink RV right now won't help. Starlink will work in areas marked as "waitlist" though.
Starlink's support page mentions “Network resources are always de-prioritized for Starlink for RVs users compared to other Starlink services, resulting in degraded service and slower speeds in congested areas and during peak hours.” Download speeds through Starlink RV range from 5 Mbps to 100 Mbps in high usage waitlist zones, which is a massive downgrade from the normal 50 Mbps to 250 Mbps Starlink download speeds.
Starlink now available for RVs, campers & other large vehicle users (note, antenna too big for cars) https://t.co/uwKwduNiojMay 23, 2022
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX which administers Starlink, tweeted about the launch news, adding that the antenna of the Starlink RV is too big for cars. It's also worth noting that Starlink RV doesn't officially operate "in motion," which means it can't be accessed on-the-go.
Starlink RV arrives a few weeks after SpaceX introduced a new portability option to the standard Starlink service — allowing users to use their dish in different locations outside their address.
But with a higher cost plan, downgraded internet service and unreliable network coverage, Starlink RV doesn't make a very strong case for itself. It leaves us wondering if waiting for standard Starlink service would be more worthwhile at this point.
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Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.