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Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you've probably heard about the development of Elon Musk's pet project, Starlink. This network of thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit offers high-speed, low-latency internet to users in more than 30 countries. It's especially helpful to those who own homes in rural or remote areas where internet access was slow and spotty at best, but it has recently been expanded with a new package designed for portable use for RVs, campers, and overland vehicles. Starlink for RVs offers internet “on an as-needed basis at any destination where Starlink provides active coverage,” and the service can be paused whenever it's not needed.
Although Starlink customers in much of the Eastern U.S. are on a waitlist until service becomes available in 2023, Starlink for RVs is available right now with no waitlist. As long as you have a clear view of the sky and are within blue areas on this map, you'll be able to get online as soon as you unbox and set up your portable dish.
However, there are some clear trade-offs. First, you'll need to pay $599 for the equipment plus $135 per month (as mentioned earlier, this monthly service can be paused or un-paused at any time). That's a $25 per month increase over the basic residential service. Second, the FAQ explains that internet service will “always [be] 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.” This is intended to provide residential users with the most stable service at their homes, so that they don't have all their bandwidth gobbled up by RV owners who are passing through.
Despite these caveats, Starlink for RVs offers capability to access high-speed internet at remote campsites and trails where it may have been impossible until now. There's no requirement to plug in at an RV park or coffee shop, and unlike a cellular hotspot, you're not beholden to staying in range of a cell tower. This is a very appealing option for those who love traveling into the wilderness but may still want to check emails, get on video conference calls, or access streaming video and music services.
It's worth noting that Starlink for RVs is designed for use at static campsites, rather than on the move. It's also specifically geared towards RVs, campers, and other large vehicles (like the Sprinter van pictured here) — Musk says the antenna is too large for a regular car, and the de-prioritization means that it's not the ideal plan for residential users looking to skip the waitlist.
For more details on Starlink for RVs, go to starlink.com/rv.