The Best RV Internet Options (for 2023)

Traveling around in an RV is a fantastic way to explore and see the world. But just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you can’t have access to fast internet service.

As a half-time RVer who works online as I travel, having access to the internet in my motorhome is incredibly important. Fortunately, there are several different RV internet options meaning it’s totally possible to stay connected while on the road.

Whether you need it for work, trip planning, or simply getting directions, finding ways to stay connected to the internet can be one of the many challenges to RV living.

Tucson-Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

These days, you can manage to stay online even while boondocking in the middle of nowhere.

If you’re wondering how to get internet in your RV, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best RV internet options so you can have broadband in your RV no matter where you roam. 

Bakersfield RV Resort, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First, know your internet needs 

It is important that you understand what your needs are while traveling in your RV. Do you simply want to be able to surf the web and check your email? Or do you need to be able to hop on Zoom meetings regularly? What you need to get out of your internet connection will directly affect the type of RV internet options available to you. 

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The 4 RV internet options

There are four main RV internet options to consider:

  • Free Wi-Fi networks
  • Paid Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Cellular options
  • Satellite internet

Each way to get online in your RV has pros and cons. 

Grandmas RV Camping, Elizabethtown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Free Wi-Fi networks

Wherever you go, you almost always have the option of connecting to a public Wi-Fi—whether it is in a campground, Starbucks, or public library. Using public Wi-Fi can be a great way to save on internet costs especially if you plan to stay in campgrounds and RV parks and don’t want to wander too far into the wilderness. 

This is the most common use for multiple reasons. It is very widely available and often it’s free.

Still, campground Wi-Fi has its drawbacks. Often, these networks are slower and less reliable and there’s a good chance you’ll find it difficult to join video calls or stream TV. Since it is a public Wi-Fi, be sure to take the necessary safety and security precautions to protect your device and your information.

Using public and campground Wi-Fi networks is the least reliable option because public Wi-Fi is not always available—and even when it is the connection isn’t necessarily going to be great. However, public Wi-Fi is also the best way to get free internet on the road. It can be a good choice if you really only need the internet for recreational purposes.

Some things to consider are:

  • If it’s being used by lots of people, the speed can be slow.
  • Need a secure internet connection? Public Wi-Fi isn’t going to be your best bet.
  • Not all public Wi-Fi is free and unlimited. Some are monitored and you will receive a certain amount of usage over a timed period either free or paid. Access to some public Wi-Fi will have a fee possible to connect or for a time or data limit.

What I like about free hotspots

  • Cost: Free
  • Availability: You can find a free hotspot in almost any cafe or library

Things to consider

  • Safety: Public internet access can be risky
  • Location: You must be in a specific place to access it.
Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Paid Wi-Fi hotspots

Many internet providers have nationwide hotspots that you can access through the service you have registered at your home address. Although they likely aren’t available in the wilderness, they are readily available in cities and towns throughout the country. For instance, Xfinity, one of the largest internet providers in the U.S. has over 8 million hotspots nationwide through which you can access the internet. Keep in mind that these hotspots are similar to public WiFi so use caution to keep your device and data secure.

What I like about paid hotspots

  • Mobile: It’s always with you
  • Data: If you have an unlimited plan, you don’t need to track usage

Things to consider

  • Availability: Some areas you travel to may not be covered
  • Data: If you don’t have an unlimited plan, overage costs can be pricey
  • Location: You must be in a specific place to access it.
Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Cellular options

Getting online with your phone or hotspot device is popular. It’s easy to get, easy to use, and is something most people have some experience using already. That said, you can’t get cell reception everywhere and getting enough data can be costly. There are also a number of different cell carriers to choose from so you will need to do some research to decide which is best for you. 

Nomad Internet takes away the need for mobile hotspotting with one carrier by providing cellular internet from available carriers. For traveling nomads, this can be a great option for RV internet service. With a starting price of $149/mo. after a $99 one-time membership fee, you can enjoy unlimited data from the largest rural internet provider currently. 

What I like about cellular options

  • Availability: Nomad can keep you connected almost anywhere by accessing service from many major providers

Things to consider

  • Price: Can be expensive
Jack’s Landing RV Park, Grant’s Pass, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Satellite internet for RVers

Satellite internet was super slow and clunky up until recently. That said, Starlink RV internet is now on the market providing fast and reliable satellite internet pretty much anywhere you can clearly see the sky. Now you are no longer limited to cellular coverage areas. The issues:

  • You won’t get connected while parked under trees
  • Bad weather and the number of users in the area also impacts connectivity
  • The Starlink equipment requires electricity to get online
  • Some users find that it’s a bit expensive for their budget (at $599, the basic Starlink hardware isn’t inexpensive but the Flat High Performance kit more than quadruples that to $2,500)

Starlink RV internet just isn’t at a place where it can be the sole internet provider for travelers because of the connectivity issues.

What I like about Starlink RV

  • Availability: Starlink is available most anywhere and growing
  • Mobility: Surfing and streaming is available while you are driving

Things to consider

  • Price: Startup cost is expensive
Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Get internet redundancy and good hardware

Once you decide which internet service option will work best for you, take a second look and decide on your second best option. Then, go ahead and invest in both the first and second pick. Some even have a third option in their back pocket as well. This is known as having internet redundancy.

Redundancy is especially important if you NEED to have internet access to do remote work from your RV. Both cellular broadband service and satellite internet are far from flawless. You may have connectivity issues when using either. And as I mentioned before, you never know when a public Wi-Fi network might not be usable.

However, if you have two or even three connectivity options available to you, you should be able to get online consistently pretty much anywhere. 

Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider a cellular router

If you choose to go with cell service for your RV internet (and really, it’s best to have at least one cell plan available for use), you might want to consider investing in a cellular router. A good router will help pull in a better signal and amplify it throughout your rig. 

A router is especially handy if you have multiple cell plans.

Purchase a router with multiple card slots and you can use the router for all of your cell plans simultaneously rather than having an individual hotspot for each one. Some routers will even intelligently hop between networks for you, ensuring you always have the best connection possible. 

Try a cell phone signal booster

In addition to the aforementioned router, you can also invest in a cellular broadband booster. This device boosts whatever cell signal you’re pulling in. It ensures that if you have a connection at all, it is a stronger one. 

Get a Wi-Fi repeater

Want to take advantage of the free public Wi-Fi networks out there? Some RVers get a lot of use out of Wi-Fi repeater systems. These pull in Wi-Fi signals from the area and will actually amplify a signal making it usable inside your RV. This is one of the least expensive RV internet options but is also probably the least reliable.

Columbia Waterfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pro Tip 1: Plan RV trips around cell service

If you’re counting on cellular broadband internet service and/or public Wi-Fi networks, there are some areas you will need to avoid unless you can afford to be offline for the duration of your stay. 

In order to figure out whether you will have cell signal or access to Wi-Fi in a certain location, I recommend using campground review websites. Here, you can see if other campers have been able to connect to campground Wi-Fi or to various cell carriers. 

Katy Lake RV Park, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pro Tip 2: Avoid crowded places

My next tip for ensuring you have decent internet speeds? Avoid super crowded areas whenever possible. Cell towers can get overloaded when there are lots of RVers around trying to use them simultaneously. Likewise, Starlink for RVers will slow down when there are too many people using the service in one area—not to mention all those nearby rigs acting as obstructions to the sky. Because of this, ensuring you stay away from the crowds will give you a better chance of having good speeds. 

Starlink’s active high capacity coverage promise includes most of the US and Canada although about a quarter of the US from the Great Lakes down to Florida is less than perfect.

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider your needs and get connected

Getting internet in an RV is not as hard or as complicated as it can seem.

Figure out which of the RV internet options will work best for your needs? Then, start putting together your setup right away! Doing so will ensure you can work (and play) no matter where in the country you end up playing, working, and living.

Related Posts:

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking

Starlink RV: Competition in the rear view from Viasat and Amazon’s Project Kuiper?

Starlink is leading the race for satellite internet supremacy

The latest internet speed analysis from Ookla showed that SpaceX’s satellite service provides the fastest satellite internet in the world and even provides faster download speeds than fixed broadband in most European countries.

SpaceX’s Starlink subsidiary has launched more than 3,500 satellites into low orbit to provide Starlink residential, RV, and marine broadband service. Other companies have a lot of catching up to do if they are to compete. Some companies and organizations have big plans though and one of them is even bigger than Amazon.

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

OneWeb

OneWeb and SpaceX have a friendly rivalry. In March 2022, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, announced it would no longer launch a batch of UK-based OneWeb satellites due to Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine. Shortly afterward, SpaceX announced it would step in to launch OneWeb’s satellites.

And things are only getting better. Last June, both firms sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission stating they would collaborate in a spectrum agreement. Both also asked the FCC to drop all past disputes filed against each other.

>> Related article: What Is Starlink for RVs? Is It Right for You?

OneWeb currently has 428 satellites in orbit all sent up aboard Russian Soyuz rockets. OneWeb has pitched its service to businesses and it currently plans to launch a total of 648 satellites. In an April 2021 test, OneWeb recorded download speeds of 165 Mbps, upload speeds of 30 Mbps, and latency of 45 milliseconds.

Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Viasat

Viasat and SpaceX’s relationship is a little less friendly. That may be partially due to the fact that Viasat operates at a higher orbit than SpaceX—in an FCC filing last year, Viasat argued that SpaceX’s Starlink mega-constellation is congesting low-Earth orbit which it needs to traverse to launch its own satellites. So far, Viasat has largely failed to slow or interfere with Starlink in its buildup of satellite capacity.

Viasat, Inc. of Carlsbad, California currently operates four large satellites: ViaSat-1, WildBlue1, Anik-F2, and ViaSat-2. These are much larger than SpaceX’s Starlink satellites though the company offers lower download speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

Viasat recently announced plans to launch its long-delayed ViaSat-3, a constellation of three additional terabit-class satellites, the first in April of this year. The company currently has two large, high-capacity satellites in high geosynchronous orbit.

Columbia Sun RV Resort, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At its launch from Kazakhstan in 2011, ViaSat-1 became the highest-capacity satellite in the world. Broadband coverage provided by ViaSat-1 included the continental United States, Hawaii, and Canada. ViaSat-2 rose from French Guiana in 2017 and would double the capacity of ViaSat-1. It isn’t easy to compare the capabilities of the two entirely different broadband systems represented by Viasat and Starlink. Starlink has launched >3,500 of its low-earth orbiters and is rapidly deploying more each week on its way to a deployed array of as many as 42,000.

Viasat Chief Executive Officer Mark Dankberg told a group of Wall Street analysts, “Putting the satellite into service addresses our most immediate challenge which is bandwidth constraints that have caused us to downsize our residential business to support the strong growth we’ve had in in-flight connectivity.” His comment underscored the company’s prioritization of residential and inflight broadband connectivity and mentioned nothing about mobile service.

Rio Grande Bend Golf and RV Resort, El Centro, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Geespace

Starlink’s availability map shows that it currently has no plans to provide its service in China. Internet access in China is only available via state-owned providers. So, barring historic changes to the status quo, government-backed companies will be the ones providing satellite internet to China’s 1.4 billion population. One company that may do just that is Geespace. On June 2, 2022 a Chinese Chang Zheng 2C rocket launched nine satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) for the company which is a subsidiary of Chinese auto giant Geely. 

>> Related article: Big Starlink Changes: Starlink for RVs Price Increase to $150/month + Portability for Residential Gone + Starlink Roam Replaces Starlink RV

Geespace currently plans to build a constellation of only 240 satellites and these will mainly be used to transmit data for parent company Geely’s autonomous driving program. However, in an interview with Bloomberg, Geespace CEO and Chief Scientist Tony Wang said “Geely’s future collaboration partners will not be limited to Geely’s ecosystems and car brands. We are also building up partnerships with other industries.”

Creek Fire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Telesat

Canadian firm Telesat currently operates 15 geostationary satellites. Much like OneWeb, it is targeting businesses rather than consumers. The company is, however, planning a large new constellation called Lightspeed which will consist of 1,600 LEO satellites.

In a Reuters report in 2021, Telesat said it was planning to launch the first Lightspeed satellites in early 2023 allowing it to provide partial service at higher latitudes that year followed by total global service in 2024. On its website, it says it will deliver “gigabits per second” speeds and latency “on par with fiber networks.”

Whispering Pine RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Amazon

Amazon is without a doubt the private company best positioned to rival Starlink on a global level. In its own words, the company recently penned “the largest commercial procurement of launch vehicles in history.”

Eighty-three rocket launches carried out by United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, and Blue Origin will send Amazon’s 3,236 Project Kuiper satellites into LEO.

Amazon claims it will “invest more than $10 billion to build” Project Kuiper and it also says it “will leverage Amazon’s global logistics and operations footprint as well as Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) networking and infrastructure” expertise to make its service more accessible.

>> Related article: Why People Are Ditching GPS for Paper Maps

The company aims to launch its first two Project Kuiper prototype satellites, KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, aboard an ABL Space Systems RS-1 rocket later this year. In 2020, Amazon unveiled a small customer terminal capable of reaching speeds of 400 Mbps. On the flipside, the company says some of its launches will take place aboard rockets that have yet to hit the launchpad—including Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket.

Hollywood Casino RV Park, Bay St. Lewis, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Amazon preparing to launch Project Kuiper satellites

Amazon, for its part, has been quietly preparing its subsidiary, Kuiper Systems LLC, to launch a significant Low Earth Orbit (LEO) array. Kuiper Systems has obtained FCC approval to launch 3,236 Project Kuiper broadband satellites. It will begin the project by launching 1,500 satellites over the next five years. Kuiper Systems LLC was formed in 2019. Its CEO is Rajeev Badyal, formerly SpaceX’s Starlink vice president. Badyal was reportedly fired from SpaceX in 2018.

The FCC Order and Authorization approving Project Kuiper’s plans is interesting reading insofar as it discusses in detail the issues surrounding collision avoidance in orbit of thousands of satellites with more being launched every week. The FCC approved Kuiper’s debris mitigation plan and its launch vehicle and orbiter disposal plans.

It is likely that Amazon having invested billions in Project Kuiper and anticipating infusing billions more will offer satellite internet in competition with Starlink at some point. However, that point appears to be years in the future. Kuiper had better accelerate its deployments—the FCC order requires Kuiper to have the first 1,600 of its satellites in orbit by 2026.

Hacienda RV Resort, La Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conclusion

The bottom line is that talk of competition with Starlink is, at best, premature, insofar as the first year of meaningful orbital broadband capacity achieved by a prospective competitor is probably 2026. And it is worth noting that Project Kuiper is the only entity with latent potential and announced intentions to compete with Starlink. Yet, do not count Viasat out despite its focus on residential broadband service. It is a compelling, relatively small technology concern with deep ties to military and government information services. Its potential is yet to be realized.

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking

Big Starlink Changes: Starlink for RVs Price Increase to $150/month + Portability for Residential Gone + Starlink Roam Replaces Starlink RV

Starlink is once again shaking things up but not in a good way for most RVers

There are a few options for RVers who need internet on the road. The best tactic is redundancy. Having a couple of options is always better than only having one. Depending on location, one provider might work better than another.

Many RVers use cellular providers to get their internet. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T offer unlimited plans or data-only plans. Whether through a hot spot or a cell phone, RVers can connect to a device and have internet capabilities to work and stream.

Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights

Another option for internet is through a satellite service. Viasat, HughesNet, and Starlink are the most popular options. While Viasat and HughesNet operate mostly in rural communities where cellular service is minimal, Starlink burst onto the scene in May 2022 as a service targeted at RV users and other nomads frequently on the move.

Many RVers have ordered Starlink RV internet and have been using it for months. A few are very positive about the progress and future outlook but most agree that Starlink isn’t going to be replacing other internet providers RVers use any time soon.

And that was before Starlink announced big changes in late February 2023.

All Starlink for RVs service users in the US have received an email alerting them that their monthly service cost is going up $15/month—from $135/month to $150/month. This price change will take effect on April 24, 2023. 

The new pricing for RV service is already effective immediately for new customers. 

Starlink for RVs was officially launched in May 2022 as a service targeted at RV users and other nomads frequently on the move. The price for this service at the time of launch was $135/month.

Users on the RV plan can expect deprioritized best effort service wherever they used it which can often result in slow speeds in congested markets. But there are benefits including being able to order it anywhere, use it anywhere in your home continent, and pause service when not using it. 

Indian Waters RV Park, Indio, California © Rex Vogel, all rights

The Starlink website describes Starlink for RVs as follows:

  • Immediately access unlimited high-speed, low-latency internet on an as-needed basis at any destination where Starlink provides active coverage
  • $150/month with a one-time cost of $599 for portable hardware or $2,500 for in-motion hardware
  • Starlink for RVs service is available for portable use with the Standard Dish at $599 and also supports official in-motion use with the optional flat HP dish at $2,500

Starlink residential service price is changing based on capacity

Starlink Residential customers also received an email notifying them of a price change that will occur on April 24, 2023 but this time the price could go up or down depending on the network capacity in their service area:

  • Customers who are in a limited capacity area will see their service increase by $10/month to $120/month
  • Customers who are in an excess capacity area will see their service decrease by $20/month to $90/month

So depending on the area where your service address is located, you could see a price increase or decrease. While the price decrease will be nice for some customers, it is probably more likely that most residential users are in a limited capacity area and will therefore be seeing a price increase on their service.

The majority of the eastern half of the US is a limited capacity area along with large portions of California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. The areas of the US with excess capacity are generally lower population areas.  

The Starlink FAQ notes that the service plan cost is subject to change dependent on service location. This seems to suggest if customers move their service address to areas with excess or limited capacity, their monthly cost will change accordingly. And if your service area changes from one capacity to the other, you can potentially expect your monthly cost to change also. 

Those in excess capacity areas enjoying a price cut now could still see their prices go up if their areas become limited capacity in the future.

This price change also comes with the implementation of the delayed 1TB priority fair use policy data cap on residential service which is now slated to go into effect in April. 

Coastal Georgia RV Park, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights

Portability for Starlink Residential users is gone

One of the most surprising and disappointing changes in this big shakeup is that portability (the option to roam from your service address) is no longer allowed on US-based Residential Starlink accounts. This wasn’t communicated to users over email but rather updated in the FAQ.

Note: Portability is not available for Residential service in the US. You may change your service address or change your service plan to RV through your Starlink account.

This is a very abrupt and unfavorable policy change.

Many RVers choose the residential service over Starlink for RVs to have priority service at their home service address. This also gave the option to move their service address to open locations they visit to get priority service. But this policy change means that option is no longer available.

Unfortunately, this means many RVers will have to give up their Starlink Residential priority service and change to Starlink for RVs or maintain two lines of service. 

Residential users that wish to change to RV service can do so right on their account page. They will have to agree to the policy changes and acknowledge that they can’t go back to Residential service. Returning the Residential service requires new equipment and starting a new plan, assuming there is available capacity. 

Terre Haute Campground, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights

What if you have portability enabled now? 

For current Residential Starlink users traveling with active portability, it’s not quite clear what will happen next for these users. At this time, it appears portability is still working if you were lucky enough to have it enabled before this change took effect. But how long this will last, remains to be seen. Will these users be able to ride out portability indefinitely until they select to remove it or will it stop abruptly before that? 

Users with portability are kind of stuck at the moment not knowing what is next for them and parts of Starlink’s FAQ still have outdated information as I write this article. Since this change was not communicated over email, there is limited info on what is next for current users with portability enabled. 

Some Starlink customers have already received responses from customer service indicating that they can keep portability turned on until they turn it off. Hopefully, this will continue to be the case.

However, customers should be aware that Starlink could at any point decide to sunset portability on Residential plans and force either changing your service address or switching to Starlink for RVs. 

If you don’t want to give up your Starlink Residential plan and service address, you should start figuring out your other options so you are prepared when that change comes. 

Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights

Portability already gone if not enabled

Some users may opt to have two Starlink lines of service—Starlink for RVs and Starlink Residential.

Residential Starlink Customers who currently have portability turned off might be shocked to notice that the portability option has already been removed from their account page and they can no longer add it. If you were hoping you could slide in under the radar for a grace period, it’s already too late.

This means if you want to travel with your Starlink and can’t move your service address, you have no choice but to convert your existing Starlink to RV service. Which means when you return to your fixed home base location, you’ll still be at best effort service without the ability to switch back to Residential. 

If you have a permanent residence where you depend on Starlink residential service and don’t want to be deprioritized on the RV service then your only option is to purchase a second Starlink for RVs kit that you’ll travel with. This option means at times, you’ll be paying for two Starlink services which can get expensive especially with the price increases. 

Overall we expect many part-time RVers that depend on Starlink at their residence to find this new policy change a pretty big slap in the face.

Starlink has for the past year made it clear that users who use Starlink at home could enjoy use outside their service address by enabling portability while they were traveling.

They just took that away from every one of these users, with no warning at all.  

New Green Acres RV Park, Walterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink should not be your only internet source

As I’ve said before, Starlink should be thought of as a complement to cellular versus a replacement. Starlink is a great option to keep connected where cellular signal doesn’t exist or in places without congestion. And it comes with other downsides like higher power usage and constantly shifting costs and terms. 

If mobile internet is an important part of your lifestyle, having multiple options is usually key to a reliable connection. Assembling a solution that combines cellular, Wi-Fi, and cellular has advantages—but certainly has costs and complexities.

Each of us has to determine how much redundancy we need in our setup to meet our unique mobile internet needs.

Clinton-Knoxville North KOA, Clinton, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights

Hang on to those unlimited cellular data plans

In particular, if you have certain legacy unlimited data plans from the carriers, its worthwhile keeping them in active service. Once you give up those sweet unlimited cellular plans, you can never get them back. Unlike Starlink’s shifts many cellular plans tend to remain grandfathered in as long as you keep paying the bill. 

Jamaica Beach RV Park, Galveston, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

No contracts mean things can and will change

While it’s nice in some ways that Starlink doesn’t make you sign a contract, allowing you to stop service when you want, it’s also becoming quite obvious that SpaceX has no loyalty to existing customers.

No contract goes both ways—Starlink can change the terms of its offerings at any time. These latest price changes and plan changes are just more examples of how Starlink has abruptly changed over its rather short two-year run. For those with any history following SpaceX, this should not come as a surprise.

Starlink is proving once again that while it is revolutionary for what it has done for mobile internet, it can and will change at any time. 

Mt. Vernon RV Park, Mt. Vernon, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights

Option to cancel service if you don’t agree with the changes

In the email customers received notifying them of the price changes which varied based on your plan and location, it was also noted that if you did not want to continue service, you have the option to cancel since there is no contract.

If you were within your original 30 days of purchase, you have the option for a full equipment refund. If you are outside your 30 days, but still within 12 months since you purchased, you can get a partial refund of $250 for your equipment. 

Up to this point used dishy terminals were generally bringing more than $250 on the private market but with these new changes there could be a flood of used equipment for sale driving the price down so it’s up to you to decide which path is best for you if you decide to cancel service. 

Buckhorn Lake Resort, Kerrville. Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

Key Points

In review, here are the big changes affecting Starlink Residential and Starlink RV Service:

  • Starlink for RVs monthly charge is going up $15—from $135 to $150/month.
  • Starlink Residential Service increases $10/month for limited capacity locations but drops $20/month for excess capacity areas. Now it is $90-$120/month, depending on your location. 
  • Portability is removed as an option for Starlink Residential Customers in the US only forcing many nomads to Starlink for RVs Service at the increased price if they regularly travel with their Starlink.
  • Existing customers won’t see a price change until April 2023 while new customers will see the new price immediately.
Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Roam replaces Starlink RV

And then on March 8, 2023, Starlink announced additional changes. Although not all affect RV users directly, I include them below.

The Starlink RV account type has been replaced with Starlink Roam. This subtle account name change comes with a couple updates to cover their services more broadly. They now offer Starlink Roam Regional which is basically the same as Starlink RV was. They now have the option of Starlink Roam Global for use anywhere (instead of use only on the continent of purchase).

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Roam pricing

The Starlink Roam Regional comes in at the recently hiked monthly price tag that Starlink RV was at of $150. This can be used anywhere on land within the continent that you purchased your service in.

The Global option comes in at $200. This can be used anywhere on land that Starlink has regulatory approval to work.

Starlink Roam for Land Use only

One interesting thing that Starlink is being clear on now is that it is intended for land use only. Now that they explicitly state this in their wording on their site and order page, expect them to start geo-locking use on these plans to land only (may be fine close to shore also) at some point soon.

Starlink has put wording in their Terms of Service (TOS) about geofencing now. They state “Regional plans are geo-fenced to work on land within the same continent as the registered Shipping Address while the Global plans work on land anywhere there is active service coverage.” Time will tell if this is being enforced.

For boaters, this will likely mean there will be more Maritime specific plan options at higher rates (probably much higher) than many have been taking advantage of on the RV or Residential with Portability account types.

There are already some third party authorized resellers with some options out there but expect to see more directly from Starlink.

Wind Creek Casino RV Park, Atwell, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Terms of Service

As always, Starlink service and policies are evolving so quickly that their TOS don’t get updated quickly enough to keep up with these changes. For a little while, you will probably see conflicting info on their site regarding these changes depending on where you look.

Starlink RV accounts will likely turn into Starlink Roam accounts but for now you will see both names being used in their wording.

Starlink rent option in the UK

Starlink recently emailed potential customers offering a new rental program in the United Kingdom (UK). The new offer would make Starlink Residential service more affordable. The offer allows Starlink customers in the UK to rent the dish and router for £15 per month versus the full purchase price of £460 (High Performance Starlink hardware costs £2,410) with a one-time activation of £99. Buying outright works out better if you keep the service for more than two and a half years. While not available in North America at time of writing, a rental program may be offered in the coming days.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights

Concluding thoughts

I dislike sharing big negative changes like this with my readers especially for full-time RVers using Starlink Residential with portability and part-time RVers that depend on Starlink at their residence but still travel with it occasionally.

I know this is a huge disappointment.

Your Starlink terms of service are not locked in. With such a young company with lots of demand offering a niche service not offered by any other company and their business growing at an incredible rate what you have today may look drastically different tomorrow. 

RVers depending on mobile internet should always have redundancy in their arsenal of internet tools and Starlink is proving that for us once again. 

With two price increases in less than a year, what is the next big change that Starlink will surprise us with? 

Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see.

Check back for updates as this big change plays out!

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking

What Is Starlink for RVs? Is It Right for You?

Are you curious about Starlink and wonder if Elon Musk’s satellite internet technology is right for you? I answer the most pressing questions about the system that’s currently shaking up the ISP (Internet service provider) market.

What is Starlink? Technically speaking, it’s a satellite internet system. But to many web users, it’s a potential godsend.

If you live in a city or a big suburb, you probably enjoy fast internet speeds, maybe at 1Gbps or beyond. But imagine enduring internet speeds at 20Mbps or even as low as 0.8Mbps every day. What’s worse, your home only has one or two internet service providers to choose from leaving you stranded with crummy service. 

Camping at Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights

Unfortunately, people across the US and the globe are stuck in this very situation. Installing fiber in a city and bringing Gigabit broadband to millions of customers is potentially lucrative but not so much in a rural area home to only a few hundred people.

Enter Starlink. The satellite internet system from SpaceX is capable of delivering 150Mbps internet speeds to theoretically any place on the planet. All the customer needs is a clear view of the sky. In fall 2020, the system began serving its first users, many of whom were based in remote or rural regions of America—and the response was enthusiastic to say the least.

Below, I’ll cover basic questions about Starlink. 

Camping at My Kentucky Home State Park, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights

How does Starlink work? 

Satellite internet technology has been around for decades. It involves beaming internet data, not through cables, but via radio signals through the vacuum of space. Ground stations on the planet broadcast the signals to satellites in orbit which can then relay the data back to users on Earth.

One of the main existing providers has been HughesNet which relies on satellites 22,000 miles above the planet. SpaceX’s system improves on the technology in two notable ways:

The company uses low-Earth orbiting satellites that circle the planet at around 300 miles above the surface. The shortened distance can drastically improve the internet speeds while also reducing latency.

Second, SpaceX wants to launch as many as 40,000 satellites in the coming years to power the system ensuring global coverage without service dropouts.  

Camping at Poche’s RV Park, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink RV service

Two years later in April 2022 SpaceX gifted a boon (albeit an expensive one) to digital nomads 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 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.

German camper van manufacturer Alphavan was quick to jump on the news and declare itself the first camper company in the world to offer Starlink-ready vans. It will prep its vans for simple, plug-and-play compatibility with Musk’s off-grid internet service.

Camping at Lackawanna State Park, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights

Ever since its first satellites found their way into space in 2018, Starlink has sounded like a godsend for RVers, particularly those who regularly travel in wilderness areas without mobile coverage and those who rely on mobile internet to work remotely while on the road. But the service didn’t get started nearly as RV-friendly as it sounded on paper requiring users to log in with a specific location, a problem by definition for RVers and others on the move.

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. However, SpaceX still advises users to keep the dish clear of snow to ensure the signal quality isn’t disrupted. “Heavy rain or wind can also affect your satellite internet connection, potentially leading to slower speeds or a rare outage,” the company says in a FAQ. The dishes were designed to operate between -22 degrees Fahrenheit up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Camping in Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights

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 RV. 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.”

Camping at Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

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 RVing. The service still costs $135/month and can be activated and paused as needed.

Starlink started shipping its Starlink for RVs flat high performance kit in December 2022 offering high-speed, low-latency internet on an as-needed basis in any destination where Starlink provides active coverage. Its active high capacity coverage promise includes most of the US and Canada although about a quarter of the US from the Great Lakes down to Florida is less than perfect. All of Europe is included as high capacity as is Brazil and Chile, much of Australia, and all of New Zealand.

Starlink says its new Flat High Performance Starlink allows users to enjoy high-speed, low-latency internet while in-motion. With a wide field of view and enhanced GPS capabilities, the Flat High Performance Starlink can connect to more satellites, allowing for consistent connectivity on the go.

Camping at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights

SpaceX to integrate Starlink directly on some RVs

Thor Industries says its family of RV companies will be the first RV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to integrate SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet system. SpaceX plans on bringing its Starlink system directly to recreational vehicles through a partnership with Thor Industries, the world’s largest RV manufacturer. 

In a recent release (January 17, 2023) Thor Industries says it’s the first RV provider to work with SpaceX on integrating Starlink’s satellite internet system. The company plans on adopting the high-performance Starlink dish on select RV models offered this year.

Thor oversees 17 RV brands. But for now, only four—Airstream, Entegra Coach, Jayco, and Tiffin—will offer Starlink as an optional add-on.

The partnership with Thor Industries offers a way for SpaceX to sell more Starlink dishes to high-end buyers. Thor RVs can range from $100,000 to around $1 million. 

Camping at Jekyll Island Campground, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights

Of course, customers could buy the Starlink access separate from the RVs. But Thor says buyers will have the benefit of their Starlink dish being factory installed while receiving a “one-month service credit” when Starlink RV costs $135 per month for the internet access. In return, Starlink RV users can expect to receive download speeds ranging from 5 to 50Mbps at a time when the satellite internet service is facing congestion woes and SpaceX is preparing to implement a high-speed data cap for the satellite internet service. 

The news arrives months after Winegard, a provider of antenna equipment to RV makers, also entered into a partnership with SpaceX to sell flat high-performance Starlink dishes. In addition, cruise line operators and airlines have been adopting Starlink for in-flight and on-ship internet access.

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights

The best solution for RV internet isn’t one solution

Marc and Tricia Leach of Keep Your Daydream have been RVing for years. Their YouTube channel equips new RVers to get on the road while providing travel tips and gear reviews. In their Starlink review video, Marc gives his opinion. Overall, he’s very happy with the product and believes it’s worth the $139/month fee. However, his biggest takeaway is that Starlink isn’t going to replace their other internet providers. Starlink RV internet just isn’t at a place where it can be the sole internet provider for travelers because of the connectivity issues.

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking