What Is Starlink And Is Starlink Available in My Area?


Kristin Cooke
Researcher & Writer
Read More
May 25, 2022

Over 750,000 people worldwide have placed orders for Starlink's satellite internet, but most are still waiting for service.

Starlink for RV update 5/25/2022

SpaceX’s Starlink has created a portable version of its service to provide satellite internet for RVs. The equipment and monthly price costs more than the stationary service, but $135 a month for reliable RV internet could be worth it if you’re an insatiable traveler.

Check Starlink’s RV satellite internet availability map to see if you can sign up, or read more about Starlink for RVs below.

Starlink is currently available to northern latitudes of the US as well as a few other select areas. Starlink availability is expanding regularly. The best way to find out when Starlink will be available to you is by entering your address on the Starlink website.

Once you enter your address, Starlink will give you an estimated availability date for Starlink in your area. Starlink will also allow you to place a $110–$500 deposit to secure your spot on the Starlink internet waitlist. 

Editor's note: Even if Starink is available in your area, it might not be the best choice—at least not right now. The Starlink network is still in development, so it's prone to slowdowns and occasional outages. If you need satellite internet now, consider going with Viasat or HughesNet instead. Read our Starlink internet review to decide if it's right for you.

How Starlink compares to other satellite internet providers

Provider
Price
Data
Download speeds
Installation fee
Get it
$110.00–$500.00/mo.*Unlimited50–500 Mbps$599.00–$2,500.00
$54.99–$149.99**15–75 GB/mo. 25 Mbps Free
$30.00–$169.99/mo.***12–300 GB/mo. 12–100 Mbps Free

*Plus hardware, shipping & handling fees, and tax. Fully refundable. Depending on location, some orders may take 6 months or more to fulfill.

**$10 off for 6 months. 24 mo. commitment required. Pricing not available in all areas. Offer valid 6/31/22-8/31/22

***Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months.

How fast is Starlink internet?

Starlink advertises download speeds between 50–500 Mbps, depending on whether you opt for Starlink Business or not. Third-party analysts confirm that average Starlink download speeds hover around 100 Mbps, which means Starlink is delivering ample speeds for video streaming, gaming, online learning, and working remotely.

The main problems customers experience with Starlink performance are periodic outages—and to be fair, Starlink warned us about service interruptions. Starlink’s service outages are often caused by gaps in the satellite constellation. The Starlink constellation looks like a fish net rotating around the Earth. If "satellite A" passes out of your field of vision before "satellite B" comes into range, you’ll have a service interruption.

As more satellites are launched into orbit and the Starlink satellite constellation is built out over the next few years, satellite internet service will be available continuously (without service interruptions). 

Should I get Starlink now?

It depends on your location. Starlink service isn’t 100% reliable yet. Right now, customers are told to expect periodic outages until the satellite constellation is more fully built out. That said, if you need internet in a rural area like Wayne County, Michigan, utilizing Starlink as another satellite internet alternative may be a welcome option.

Starlink is faster than most other rural internet options and has great potential, but the service interruptions (blackouts) are frustrating. For people who rely on the internet for work or school, we recommend waiting to get Starlink until it is more reliable. Last year we put together a list of the 10 fastest and slowest rural cities for internet to get a deeper look at where satellite internet is most recommended. 

Find all the reliable satellite internet plans in your area.

Where can I get satellite internet now?

If you need satellite internet now, waiting for Starlink to launch another few thousand satellites isn’t an option. Viasat and HughesNet offer satellite internet service nationwide, so you can get connected today. Most Viasat plans give you much more data than HughesNet plans, which will help keep your speeds thrumming along.

Info
Why does my Starlink service go out a few times an hour?

Starlink has informed customers to expect periodic interruptions in connectivity. Why is this happening? It occurs because the Starlink constellation isn't fully built out yet. Satellites speed across the sky every two to three minutes, and when there’s a gap between satellites, you’ll experience an outage. As more satellites are launched over the next few years, outages are expected to occur less frequently.

 

Where is Starlink available?

Currently, Starlink is available to customers who live between 45 and 53 degrees latitude.1 As the satellite constellation is built out further, additional regions will be added until it is available globally. You can sign up on the Starlink waiting list if you live in the northern US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or parts of 10 countries in Europe (including the UK).

If you want to find out when Starlink is available in your area, you can visit the Starlink website and request notifications on when Starlink service will roll out in your area.

Can I get Starlink in urban areas?

Starlink isn’t going to be a universal internet solution for everyone, particularly for those living in urban and suburban areas. Due to satellite capacity limitations, Starlink won’t be a good choice for urban areas. With satellite internet, each geographical area has a finite amount of capacity because all internet traffic has to pass through whatever satellites are closest to that particular area. In rural areas, where the population is spread out, a high percentage of the population could use Starlink and not max out the capacity. But in high-density urban areas, even a relatively low percentage of users will quickly overload the Starlink network. 

You can learn more about Starlink’s planned network on our Starlink satellite internet information page.

Can I get Starlink for my RV?

Starlink just opened RV satellite internet plans to most (but not all) of the United States, Europe, and Australia. The service is designed specifically for RV owners, so as long as your chosen camping spots have clear views of the sky, you should be able to use Starlink with your RV.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to Starlink for RV’s plans. If you’re in the southeastern part of the United States, or planning to travel thereabouts, you’re out of luck. Starlink RV internet isn’t available there yet. But Starlink does plan to expand its RV satellite internet service to the South in 2023—so you can at least get on the waitlist and dream of the day you’ll have Starlink on your RV.

If you’re looking for reliable RV internet in the meantime, check out our How to Get Internet in Your RV guide, with our top five options vetted for you ahead of time.

But for those who do have access to Starlink’s RV plans, keep in mind that they don’t come cheap. The equipment costs $599 up front, and you’ll pay $135 a month thereafter. Fortunately, Starlink for RVs promises a pay-as-you-go structure, where you can pause service when you don’t need it and resume paying the $135 a month when you do.

That’s not a bad compromise, but we’d still only recommend it for longer-term boondockers. Weekend travelers just won’t see the same value for the price.

Starlink satellite launches

Elon Musk has tweeted that there are currently 1,469 active Starlink satellites in orbit with 272 moving to operational orbits as of January 15, 2022. Starlink has been launching satellites into orbit since early 2018, with launches expected to continue for years. For the past two years, Starlink has been launching a batch or two of satellites each month. 

Eventually, Starlink plans to have thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites in commission. Starlink’s satellite network resembles a fishnet with the satellites evenly spaced out across the Earth to form a tight-knit weave. As the satellites orbit, they maintain this formation. User terminals on Earth will automatically point and connect to the satellites closest to them.

Starlink speeds: 50–500 Mbps

Starlink advertises download speeds between 50 and 500 Mbps. A recent report from Speedcheck confirmed that North American Starlink customers are getting an average download speed of 50 Mbps with a low latency of 50 to 60 ms. 

Starlink’s speed is even more impressive when combined with the perk of having unlimited data. Data caps cause significant slowing for satellite customers, since most run out of data before the end of the month and their speeds get throttled. There's no definite word on whether Starlink will continue to offer unlimited data, but for now it's a great perk.

Low latency

On the Starlink website, customers are told that in most locations, they can expect 20 ms latency. Recent Starlink speed tests have shown an average latency between 50–60 ms, which falls a bit short of expectations but still exceeds performance of most satellite internet services (which average 594–624 ms).

Latency measures the delay or lag you experience when requesting or sending data, and notoriously high latency rates on most forms of satellite internet usually keeps people from gaming. The average satellite internet latency is between 594 milliseconds to 624 milliseconds, so Starlink's low latency rate will be a boon for rural customers.

Light Bulb

“Starlink will be among the fastest options available to transfer data around the world.” 

Kate Tice, SpaceX Senior Program Reliability Engineer

At least some of the satellites have the capability to share data with each other via inter-satellite laser links. These lasers allow satellites to communicate with each other to increase data speeds and decrease reliance on ground stations (which are costly and limited by geography and international politics). Two Starlink satellites successfully first used this feature in September 2020. In September 2021, Starlink deployed the first full batch of these “space laser” enabled satellites, called version 1.5. As more Starlink satellites begin using “space lasers” to transfer data with each other, speeds and latency are expected to continue to improve.

How does Starlink compare to Viasat and HughesNet?

Starlink Internet download speeds reportedly range from 50–250 Mbps, which puts it in the same general category as Viasat’s 100 Mbps plan (Platinum Unlimited 100). Starlink Business is in a league of its own, touting speeds up to 500 Mbps. HughesNet tops out at 25 Mbps, which is fast enough for activities like streaming but it may be noticeably slower than Starlink or Viasat. Some satellite providers do have high latency, which is another layer of speed you might not think about. Starlink also has unlimited data, a first for satellite plans, although there is no word on how long this feature will continue.

High latency (or lag) means you’ll have a noticeable delay between the time you request information on the internet (such as clicking on a link to request viewing a web page) and the moment that it displays on your computer. This delay is caused by several factors, including the time it takes for your request to travel to servers and satellites orbiting the Earth, and then back to you.

Starlink can offer lower latency than Viasat and HughesNet due to the satellite design and location. Starlink’s satellites are much closer to the Earth than satellite systems used by Viasat or HughesNet. Starlink satellites orbit 550 kilometres (340 miles) from the Earth’s surface, while Viasat and HughesNet satellites are approximately 35,405 kilometres (22,000 miles) away from Earth.

Thanks to their closer proximity, Starlink satellites will deliver broadband internet with lower latency than other satellite providers—simply because data just won’t have to travel as far. Starlink’s lower latency will be helpful in everyday internet usage as well as in online gaming, video conferencing, and other tasks that are done in real time.

Final take: Starlink is promising—but don’t hold your breath.

Starlink has a lot of publicity, but it might not be a good solution for everyday Americans for several years. The initial sign up cost of $599–$2,500 is cost prohibitive for many people, making companies like Viasat or HughesNet (who offer free signup) look more affordable. Plus, it may take a few years before the Starlink constellation is fully built out and available nationwide.

In the meantime, you can find the best internet options for rural areas today in our full review, which includes satellite internet from HughesNet and Viasat and LTE home internet solutions. You can also read our full review of the best satellite internet providers.

Looking ahead, you can expect to see developments from many companies. Viasat is building out a new satellite system—called the ViaSat-3—which is expected to launch later this year. This new satellite system will bring higher volume, more data, and faster speeds to a satellite network that’s been in place for nearly 20 years.

Find all the internet providers available where you live with one search.

FAQ about Starlink availability

When will Starlink be available?

Starlink satellite internet is currently available in parts of the US and Canada to people who live between 44 and 53 degrees latitude. Starlink plans to be available worldwide by the end of 2022.

Where can I get Starlink internet?

The best way to find out when you can get Starlink internet is by entering your address on the Starlink website. Once you do, it will give you an estimated availability date for Starlink service in your area.

Can you use Starlink on an RV?

SpaceX just released Starlink for RVs in 2022, so RV owners in the west, midwest, northeast, and most of the southwest of the United States can now sign up for the portable Starlink satellite internet they’ve hoped for.

But if you’re in the southeastern US, or planning to travel there, you’re out of luck for now. We’d suggest sticking with hotspot and data plans in the meantime.

When will Starlink be available for RV?

Starlink for RVs is already available to most of the United States, Europe, and Australia. But people in the southeastern part of the US will have to wait until 2023 to get access to Starlink RV internet.

How much does Starlink for RVs cost?

Starlink for RVs costs $599 up front for the satellite equipment and $135 a month for its satellite internet service. Starlink’s RV plan is also pay as you go, meaning it's billed monthly with no contract, so you can pause and resume service to match your travel plans.

How fast is Starlink internet?

Starlink internet speeds range from 50–500 Mbps. However, customers report fluctuating speeds and occasional outages as the Starlink network continues to launch.

Is Starlink reliable enough to work remotely?

Starlink is reliable enough to work remotely in some areas, while in other places the service is too intermittent. Starlink service will improve within the next few years. If you need a more reliable satellite internet provider in the meantime, try Viasat or HughesNet.

Can I use Starlink satellite service on the road in an RV?

No, Starlink can’t be taken with you while traveling. But Starlink service for RVs is coming, according to Elon Musk.2 The company is developing a portable antenna for large trucks, boats, and RVs. For now, Starlink satellite internet service is tied to your location. In the meantime, here are other internet options for RVs.

Will I be able to get phone service from Starlink?

Yes, Starlink is planning to offer a VoIP phone service plan in the future, but Starlink phone service is not available yet. Starlink will also offer emergency services.4

Can’t wait for Starlink? Check internet providers near you.

Sources

  1. Etherington, Darrell, TechCrunch, “Elon Musk Says Starlink Internet Private Beta to Begin in Roughly Three Months, Public Beta in Six,” April 2020. Accessed September 2, 2020.
  2. Sheets, Michael, CNBC, “Elon Musk Wants to Connect RVs and Trucks to the Internet through SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites,” March 2021. Accessed March 29, 2021.
  3. Maring, Joseph, “Musk's Starlink Can Be Strapped to a Truck or RV, But Not Yet,” April 2021.  Accessed May 14, 2021.
  4. Brodkin, Jon, “SpaceX Plans Starlink Phone Service, Emergency Backup, and Low-Income Access,” February 2021. Accessed May 14, 2021.
Kristin Cooke
Written by
Kristin Cooke
After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Utah, Kristin learned to geek speak while working as a technical recruiter, interviewing software developers and tech companies. For over 20 years, she has created award-winning content for technology, health, and finance companies. Kristin is an advocate for affordable internet for all and writes about rural internet solutions, satellite internet news, and tech products at SatelliteInternet.com. Her work has been featured in New York Post, PCMag, Forbes, Business Insider, Telecompetitor, Space.com, and The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.