Starlink’s RV service lets users jump the line for a price

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TAMPA, Fla. — A new Starlink plan lets customers pay more to skip waitlists to connect to its broadband satellites without a fixed address, although connection speeds for other users will be prioritized. 

Users willing to pay $25 more a month than Starlink’s standard service for its RV plan will get equipment to access the network “shortly after” the order is placed. 

The new plan is mainly marketed to customers with a motorhome, campervan or another type of recreational vehicle (RV), but Starlink says other uses include “camping trips or for people who have seasonal homes.”

Starlink for RVs appears to come with the same equipment given to residential customers for Starlink’s standard service, which averaged more than 100 megabits per second download speeds during research firm Ookla’s tests in the United States late last year. 

The RV plan does not come with a generator or another mobile power source, for instance, and Starlink currently does not have any specific mount options for attaching the antenna on RVs or campers.

Starlink also says it does “not support Starlink use in motion at this time,” and warns customers that using the service on the move will void the limited warranty on their kit.

“While our teams are actively working to make it possible to use Starlink on moving vehicles (e.g., automobiles, RVs, boats), Starlink is not yet configured to be safely used in this way,” the company says on its website.

Starlink’s standard service for residential customers in the United States is $110 a month. However, the service will not be available for some fixed U.S. addresses in the country until 2023, according to Starlink’s website.

Both the RV and standard residential service charge $599 for hardware that includes an antenna to connect to Starlink’s rapidly expanding low Earth orbit satellite constellation.

Starlink availability in the US as of March 24. Credit: Starlink

Fixed locations get the priority

“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,” Starlink’s website says.

The company said service degradation for Starlink for RV customers will be most extreme in the residential waitlist areas on Starlink’s availability map during peak hours, which it did not define. Most of the waitlist areas in the United States are concentrated in the southeast.

However, those subscribed to Starlink for RVs can also pause and resume services at any time. Starlink said it will bill these customers in monthly increments to enable “users to customize their service to their individual travel needs.”

Customers using Starlink in a foreign country for more than two months will be required to move their account to the new location, or buy an additional Starlink plan to maintain service.

Starlink also offers a premium service designed for small offices, storefronts and other high-demand users that promises 150-500 megabits per second speeds with a more advanced antenna. 

The premium plan has a $2,500 price tag for the hardware and charges $500 a month for the service in the United States. Hardware deliveries for premium plan subscribers are due to start at the end of June in the United States and Canada, according to Starlink’s website.

For years since SpaceX started providing Starlink broadband in 2020, the service only worked within a specific area close to a user’s service address. 

Starlink launched a portability service earlier this month for existing fixed residential customers — enabling them to temporarily move their service to locations with active coverage within the same continent — for an extra $25 a month. 

Starlink said it will only prioritize network resources while customers with portability enabled are at their registered service address.

SpaceX has more than 2,400 Starlink satellites in orbit, according to statistics maintained by spaceflight analyst and astronomer Jonathan McDowell, and is currently offering services in 32 countries

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