Starlink in-motion RV broadband puts more digital into nomadism
SpaceX gifted a boon (albeit an expensive one) to digital nomads earlier this year when it launched its Starlink RV service, enabling internet connection in the types of remote, primitive spaces where it was definitely lacking. One of the shortcomings of the service has been that it can only be used while stationary, but now SpaceX has solved that issue with the new Flat High Performance Starlink option. With (expensive) updated hardware, the service supports broadband internet while mobile, allowing nomads to more productively use the time they spend commuting in the passenger seat. It could be a game changer for those who want to put in a day's work without being stuck in one place.
The Flat High Performance Starlink service relies on a flatter dish affixed to the vehicle with an included wedge mount. SpaceX says the service has a wide field of view and enhanced GPS capabilities to connect to more satellites at once and maintain a consistent connection on the go. The equipment is designed to hold up to wind and weather.
Inability to connect while in motion was a major missing piece of Starlink's RV service. While RVers certainly vary widely in their habits and connectivity needs, being able to connect reliably without having to park in one place seems like it'd be high on the wish list of anyone who moves around a lot but wants to make productive use of downtime in the van. With the on-the-go Flat HP service, mobile remote workers can, theoretically, pick up and hit the road whenever they want while passengers are still able to log in and get work done without worrying about being offline for the entire ride.
While the Flat High Performance service solves one of the major shortcomings of Starlink for RVs, SpaceX's untethered satellite internet is still subject to the whims of traffic. The company's website still includes the disclaimer, "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. Stated speeds and uninterrupted use of the service are not guaranteed. Service degradation will be most extreme in 'Waitlist' areas on the Starlink Availability Map during peak hours."
So how well it actually works for those looking to connect on the road remains to be seen.
At US$599, the basic Starlink hardware isn't inexpensive, but the Flat High Performance kit more than quadruples that to $2,500. That's a steep buy-in but possibly well worth it for those who can now get lucrative work done more efficiently while out RVing. The service still costs $135/month and can be activated and paused as needed. Flat HP can be ordered in select markets now, with equipment deliveries set to start in December.