We’ve been holding out hope that Starlink’s internet service options would improve at the same lightning-fast rate that SpaceX is known for. We were very aware of the shortcomings of Starlink but believed they would fix them quickly enough to make their service worth it for RVers.
However, we’ve lost that faith in them. They’ve let their customers down in rather an abrupt manner with two BIG changes that affect RVers.
We will break down those two big changes for you.
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Starlink recently hit RVers with a double-whammy. The first is a price hike. Another price hike.
The second is the complete discontinuation of a service that Starlink promoted to RVers.
Let’s dive right into these changes and what it means for new or current Starlink customers.
Starlink for RVs monthly charge is going up another $15 – from $135 to $150/month. This price increase takes effect on April 24th, 2023.
The one-time cost for portable hardware stays the same at $599. Starlink for RV service still supports in-motion use with the optional flat HP dish, which costs $2,500.
Now in itself, $15 is not a catastrophic price increase, but it is the latest of a growing number of price hikes that really adds up. When I signed up a year ago, it was just $99 a month. And this latest price doesn’t seem to come with any improved service. The 5 big disappointments with Starlink that I previously wrote about still stand.
The latest price increase comes with another big slap in the face for RVers…
The other BIG change was dropped on current Residential plus Portability users without warning. Starlink has discontinued Portability and didn’t even warn users about the change.
They simply removed the feature from people’s accounts overnight.
In a previous article, we highlighted how Residential + Portability held one big advantage over Starlink for RV: prioritized service at your home address. Now, your only option is to travel with Starlink for RV, which has throttled internet speeds during peak times and in many locations.
Furthermore, if you want to have Starlink at home and on the road, you must have two separate services. Residential service at home, and Starlink for RV for when you travel. That means you’ll pay $300 monthly whenever your Starlink for RV is active.
What Does This Mean for Current Portability Users?
Since Starlink has been so quiet about this change, we really don’t know what that means for current users. From what RVers are saying, it seems like Portability still works IF you had it activated when this change took place.
It is unknown how long it will stay active (probably not very long). Starlink clearly doesn’t mind shutting things down with no warning. Furthermore, if you turn it off, you won’t be able to turn it back on.
For Residential + Portability users that did not have Portability activated at the time of the change, it’s gone forever. The “turn portability on” option is no longer available in these accounts.
Residential users can switch to Starlink for RV service through their account page. However, keep in mind that once you agree to the policy changes, you cannot go back to Residential service.
To return to Residential service, you’ll have to pay for new equipment and start a new plan. AND that’s assuming there is available capacity for your location.
If you’ve been following us for this past year, you know we had high hopes for Starlink. Despite the big disappointments with Starlink we experienced, we were patiently waiting for them to evolve and improve. After all, they were innovating, and innovating requires kinks to be worked out.
Well, our hopes have been dashed. Instead of making improvements, they silently discontinued one of the main services plans RVers use and threw in a price increase to boot.
Worst of all, Starlink dropped these changes on its users without warning or empathy.
This was likely a strategy to spread out the backlash they’re going to face from angry users. Just think how many users won’t even realize the changes until they go to turn on Portability for their next road trip.
So, we’re not relying on Starlink. We're keeping our Starlink subscription but have put it on pause. Maybe someday Starlink will deliver on the original promises of reliable and high-speed service. But for now, we are relying on cellular Internet service and boosters for our day-to-day use on the road.
I don't want you to think that Starlink is not useful to RVers. It is for one subset: Those who are boondocking or camping in wilderness areas where cell service is not available.
Mostly, we're talking west of the Mississippi.
For those RVers, it is the best choice for the Internet.
East of the Mississippi, Starlink is mostly oversubscribed, throttled, and not that much faster than cellular. In fact, new cellular advances like C Band almost always outperform Starlink.
We will continue to try out mobile internet services in the hopes that one will finally deliver what we all hope for.
What to use for the Internet?
That said, we get asked a lot about what we do for the Internet while RVing. And I can tell you this – it has changed a lot over the years.
We used to just use a hotspot on our mobile devices, and then we used cellular boosters, and then we tested out systems for a variety of providers, and now – without Nomad – we use a mix of things.
If you only need to check your email and get caught up on your social media, you only need a good cellular service from any of the major providers. Use your cell phone or tablet as a hotspot.
If you need to power up your laptop and do some work, check email, maybe watch a few youtube videos, then you need something more, like a Jetpack or Mi-Fi card from your Internet Service Provider.
If you are online content creators like us, and need to edit long videos and upload them to Youtube, or are very heavy online users, you’ll need a more robust service like Internetonthego or Starlink (if you are out west and are not covered by trees).
If you want to read through a few posts we’ve done on this topic, here are a few to get you started… RV Lifestyle Internet
We are always searching for and testing out Internet solutions for RVers so watch for more articles and videos here as we come across things that catch our attention. But I will be very careful in ever again recommending another service after our experience with Nomad.
If you want truly expert technical reviews of the latest technology, check out the RV Mobile Internet Resource Center from our friends Cherie and Chris.
They keep track of Internet offerings aimed for travelers better than anyone we know and they are totally objective. They accept no third party advertising and are not sponsored by any Internet service or company.
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