Starlink customers can now take their Satellite Internet on the road

Last week Starlink announced a new 'Portability' feature for their satellite internet customers who wish to move their Starlink satellite dish and router to other locations.

Until now the satellite internet service was only available at the address the dish was installed at or close to it.

Starlink customers in Australia who want to take advantage of the new Portability feature will need to pay an additional $35 per month on top of the base rate of $139 per month.

While Starlink's satellite internet doesn't reach every inch of the continent yet, it soon will which will effectively give us an affordable & portable satellite internet solution anywhere & everywhere in Australia.

Elon Musk's ambitious Starlink project will ultimately provide affordable high speed satellite internet to virtually everywhere on earth via a constellation of low earth orbit satellites that beam internet data to and from customers via a small satellite dish.

The project was first announced by Elon Musk in 2015 and SpaceX, the owner of Starlink, has been launching satellites for the past 3 years since May 2019.

There are already 2200 Starlink satellites in orbit which is approximately half of the 4408 planned for the first generation of the Starlink network.

Starlink satellites flat packed on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ready for deployment
60 Starlink satellites flat packed on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket prior to deployment Source: Wikipedia

SpaceX has permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put 12,000 Starlink satellites in orbit and the company has filed paperwork with an international regulator to launch up to 30,000 more.

Ultimately Elon Musk's goal is to have as many as 42,000 Starlink satellites in orbit around the earth!

Fortunately for us Down Under, the southern half of Australia is one of the first regions to be able to access the Starlink satellite internet service as it rolls out.

The rest of Australia is scheduled to come online in early 2023.

Starlink satellite internet coverage of Australia May 2022

Customers in Australia are able to buy the Starlink hardware kit which includes a small satellite dish, wifi router and the necessary cables and power supply.

The dish can stand freely on the ground or be mounted on the roof of the customers house or other building.

In Australia, the Starlink kit costs $924 for the hardware plus $150 shipping and handling.

The monthly subscription for the satellite internet service with unlimited traffic is $139 per month plus $35 extra for the Portability feature .

Starlink satellite internet dish and router

According to Starlink, users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations.

Which is certainly a lot faster than the speeds I can get with the NBN at my house in Melbourne.

When I first watched the keynote with Elon Musk announcing the Starlink project back in 2015 my first thought was that this would be a complete game changer for remote communications in Australia.

For people who live & work outside the reach of the 'hard wired' NBN, satellite internet has always been their only option so Starlink should be very welcome upgrade for them.

For those of us that love to travel in remote areas, Starlink is opening up the possibility of us taking high speed internet with us everywhere we go.

Effectively turning our vehicles or vans into 'mobile hot spots'.

Earlier this year in January, SpaceX filed an application with the FCC for the operation of a new more ruggedized user terminal that can better withstand extremes of heat and cold.

They have also sought permission from the FCC to deploy Starlink satellite internet to moving vehicles including trucks, boats and aircraft which are collectively described as Earth Stations In Motion (ESIMs).

Elon Musk has stated that there are no plans for Starlink in cars as the terminal is much too big "Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs"

But even so, having a terminal installed on your caravan or RV or able to be quickly mounted in the field on the roof rack of your 4WD sounds like it will soon be a reality.

So at this stage it doesn't look like hand held pocket sized Starlink devices are on the agenda but like all things in tech, they just get smaller and smaller.

The first mobile phones needed to be installed in a vehicle and now they easily fit in your pocket, so never say never!

I know a lot of people, me included, enjoy the solitude of being offline and disconnected from the world in Australia's remote places but it's inevitable that this is going to become a thing of the past.

On the positive side, it will make for more safer remote travel and give more people more freedom to truly travel and work from anywhere.

And of course how we use it and whether we use it at all remains a personal choice.

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4 thoughts on “Starlink customers can now take their Satellite Internet on the road

  1. Jason says:

    Starlink is a game changer for remote ,
    i work and travel remote 7 months of the year and need comms on the road , I have celfi in the car which is fine for Calls and TXTs on the Telstra network no issues , but no data when you get out remote , I had a $30,000 satellite mounted on top of the 4wd at a cost of over $1000 a month for 2 to 3 MB if i was lucky. Made the jump to Starlink 2 years ago now , and while it was a bit patchy in the start , it is 100% more reliable then the old school setup , way cheaper and it just works , I've been in some pretty remote parts of Australia and its just so simple ,
    Once all of Australia comes on , it will just be the norm to travel with Starlink , yes while $139 a month does seem expensive , to compare it to the old way of getting a satellite signal , its really really cheap.

  2. Margot says:

    It is widely believed that Telstra is the best option for remote travel. However, as far as we are concerned, Telstra has lost the plot big time and unless Telstra pulls their socks up, Starlink (or similar) will become the preferred mode of communications. We do speak from experience. Have used Telstra since our 1st home phone/mobile. In 2017 we had a 3g aerial mounted on the roof at our base 5kg from a main town just south of Cairns, with a Telstra Tough Max hooked to the aerial we received phone calls any time of day/night, we also used to be able to access the internet most of the time. 2021, no phone/internet access at all with the 3G aerial. Telstra had installed 4G & 5G towers around the area.
    Changed the aerial to latest 4G aerial, still no connection. Could sometimes get a text message in but that was it, usually 1 bar on the modem/mobile. Purchased a Telstra Cel-Fi-Go which is supposed to boost reception if you have some connection. Had to do the setting up in town then took it back to our base. Looked like that had worked, which was 3/4 bars on the modem/mobile. Well that was not the case as far as phone calls were concerned, 3/4 bars of hot air. Not able to make/received phone calls at all. Could receive/send text messages. Could receive/send emails, but no internet access either. We have been travelling Australia for 4 years and the situation we are in is not an isolated incident. We were in Derby WA 2020 where there is a Telstra Tower in town, phone calls were possible sometimes, forget about internet. Camped near near the town of Yalgoo WA in 2019 and had phone/internet coverage no problems. Same place 2021, no phone/internet. We recently (2022) stayed on a friends property in Crows Nest Qld, the Telstra Tower is visible from her place, no mobile/internet. Our friend said that Optus is the only option in this town. So bring it on Starlink.

  3. Staunchone says:

    This reminds me of when Galaxy Satellite tv came out in the '90's. Same thing. Massive installation cost, pretty steep monthly fees, but in no time, that was reduced to nothing.

  4. Mr Kim Fewings says:

    Steve, do you see subscription costs reducing in the future and if so, how long?
    We are starting our life on the road full time soon and now I’m not sure which way to go for internet access in remote areas. I was looking at an rfi wide band antenna and 6 meter mast with a nighthawk m5 modem. I really like this set up but the ongoing cost is very high at this point.

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