Starlink’s internet-from-SpaceX service has gone mobile with a new Portability feature. For an additional monthly fee, Starlink subscribers can now take their “dishy” anywhere on their home continent that provides active internet coverage. That opens up connectivity to remote places that will likely never be covered by 5G — a potential boon to the increasing numbers of work-from-anywhere types spawned by the COVID 19 pandemic.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded to one happy Starlink camper saying, “Starlink is awesome for RV’s, camping or any activity away from cities.”
Starlink doesn’t support use while driving yet, but the company says it’s actively working on a solution for moving vehicles. Musk has previously tweeted about working on a power-efficient solution that can plug into a car’s 12V cigarette lighter and still maintain connectivity. That hasn’t stopped some owners using a bit of hackery to test Starlink on speeding cars — with varied success.
Power consumption is an important consideration when boondocking and living off your vehicle’s battery. Starlink reportedly draws between 60-70W, according to Jeff Geerling’s blog, an improvement on the 80-100W draw from just a year ago.
Starlink is offering Portability on a “best effort basis,” the company says, with users at their registered service addresses receiving priority for network resources. “When you bring your Starlink to a new location, this prioritization may result in degraded service, particularly at times of peak usage or network congestion,” notes the Starlink support page.
Existing Starlink customers can add Portability from their account page which then immediately becomes active. It costs an additional $25 each month, on top of monthly subscriptions that already start at $110 after a one-time hit of $599 to purchase the Starlink kit.