Starlink's new RV plan allows customers to bypass the queue if they pay more for poorer service

Starlink’s new RV plan allows customers to bypass the queue if they pay more for poorer service

SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellite constellation is still growing, and the service is solely designed for use in the exact place where the user is registered. However, as we reported earlier this month, for an additional $25 per month, the service’s new “portability” option would allow users to transport their food somewhere else every now and then.

You still require at-home service for that bundle with portability, and it cautions users that they will be de-prioritized while away from home. However, if you’re a van lifer or RV enthusiast looking to purchase a dish without having a “home” address with prioritized service, Starlink for RVs now allows you to sign up and purchase a dish for immediate access. There’s no need to wait, though it’s worth noting that the service isn’t designed to work while driving and, as Elon Musk helpfully points out, the antenna is a little too big for your car.

Of course, not everyone is pleased that Starlink for RVs has provided a no-waiting option, even though some fans who signed up for home service have shipping dates that aren’t due until 2023.

Taking that approach, though, will not be inexpensive. My home address, like most folks east of the Mississippi River, is on the waitlist for Starlink service, but I could sign up for a dish today for $99 down and an anticipated $110 monthly service fee. If I choose Starlink for RVs, I may have a dish mailed to me as soon as I pay the whole $599 plus fees upfront and $135 per month for internet access.

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For an extra $25 per month, I’d like “best-effort service” as well as the ability to halt service for months when I’m not using it. “Network resources are always de-prioritized for Starlink for RVs customers compared to other Starlink services, resulting in degraded service and slower speeds in busy locations and during peak hours,” according to Starlink for RVs FAQ. The stated speeds and uninterrupted service use are not guaranteed. During peak hours, service degradation will be most severe in “Waitlist” locations on the Starlink Availability Map.”

That effectively translates to a strong caution for anyone considering using the RV program — designed for folks heading into the wilderness where other internet access may be unavailable — to acquire Starlink home internet right now. It’s your option, but it will cost more and possibly result in slower service, making the wait seem more worthwhile.

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