Data Doctors: Starlink Internet Service Updates

Ken Colburn of Data Doctors provides the latest updates on the Starlink internet provider.

Q: What is the latest news about the Starlink satellite internet service?

A: A lot has changed since I last wrote about this highly anticipated satellite internet option, but it’s still being worked on.

Since they made the service available to the public in October 2020, the number of satellites in low Earth orbit has more than tripled to more than 2,000, improving coverage and performance.

The long-term goal of the first phase is to have nearly 12,000 satellites in the network to provide coverage for the entire planet.

The ground-based satellite dish has gone from a round concave design to a flat rectangular dish that is lighter and thinner. The accompanying Wi-Fi router has also been slightly upgraded with an additional MU-MIMO antenna (3×3 vs. 2×2) for more simultaneous connections on the local network.

Not for the masses

Despite all the network and equipment updates, it is still not an option for those who live in densely populated areas.

Starlink targets underserved rural areas that typically don’t have good internet service options, so it will probably never be an alternative to cable and DSL services in major cities.

Map availability

Another useful update is the availability map that has been added to the Starlink website.

If you have a structure in a rural area or if you are a motorhome owner (camping in a motorhome with no connections to electricity, water or sewage), you can use Google Plus codes instead of a physical address to check availability.

Ukraine’s War Impact on RV Users

For those traveling across the country in a motorhome, finding a solid and affordable internet connection has always been a challenge.

Some early Starlink RV users figured out a way to use the service on a mobile basis by changing their service address before moving to another area.

This approach didn’t always work, but it was worth the extra effort because of the speed and unlimited data service Starlink offered.

A recent change to the service announced by Elon Musk was the activation of “mobile roaming” so that users who got equipment in Ukraine could use it on the go.

Many motor home owners who have used Starlink report that mobile roaming has been activated on their connection, eliminating the need to find a nearby service address before moving to a new area.

As this is a work in progress, there is no guarantee that it will be activated for every user and that it will not be changed in the future. Starlink has already created a business service option that is significantly more expensive, so it’s quite possible they can create a mobile RV package that could be more expensive in the future.

Price increases

Starlink has announced that on May 21 it will increase prices for both its monthly service and hardware for new orders.

The monthly service goes from $99 to $110, and the price for the basic hardware goes from $499 to $599, unless you’re already on the waiting list. The price for those currently on the waiting list will go up to $549.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask a technical question on Facebook or Twitter

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