SpaceX has announced that its Starlink for RVs satellite internet service will be available for moving vehicles starting in December 2022. While you’ve been able to mount one of the satellite dishes onto or outside of a stationary vehicle for a while now, it was intended for use only while parked, like at a campsite or remote cabin (though there were those that tried to make it work on the go). Soon, you won’t have to sacrifice connectivity when you pack up and hit the road, but that ability won’t come cheap.
While the standard Starlink for RV service uses SpaceX’s $599 satellite dish, using it in motion requires a Flat High Performance dish, which will cost a whopping $2,500. (When I visited the order screen, there was also a $50 shipping and handling fee.)
The service, however, will cost the same $135 a month for the “Best Effort” internet connection. In a support document, Starlink explains what to expect: “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.”
SpaceX’s site says that the hardware is built to be weather-resistant and that it’s “designed for a permanent installation on your vehicle,” which also likely raises the price to get this service up and running on your rig unless you’re confident in your DIY abilities.
According to the Starlink FAQ:
In-motion use is supported for users with Starlink RV service meeting the following criteria:
Using Flat High Performance Starlink
Starlink is securely installed with the Wedge mount included with the Flat High Performance Starlink kit.
Using Flat High Performance Starlink while in-motion without the Wedge mount, or using any other Starlink model will void the limited warranty of your Starlink.
Customers in “select markets” are currently able to order it, and SpaceX only promises “high-speed, low latency” internet in certain areas (sorry northern Canada and the midwest US).
The company has been building to this capability for a while, but the FCC only granted authorization to use the system on moving vehicles earlier this summer. Since then, SpaceX has announced that its service will be coming to airplanes and cruise ships, so it makes sense that automobiles — or “any moving land object,” as the company’s CEO Elon Musk notes — would be next.