Last week Starlink announced a new 'Portability' feature for their satellite internet customers who wish to move their Starlink satellite dish and router to other locations.
Until now the satellite internet service was only available at the address the dish was installed at or close to it.
Starlink customers in Australia who want to take advantage of the new Portability feature will need to pay an additional $35 per month on top of the base rate of $139 per month.
While Starlink's satellite internet doesn't reach every inch of the continent yet, it soon will which will effectively give us an affordable & portable satellite internet solution anywhere & everywhere in Australia.
Elon Musk's ambitious Starlink project will ultimately provide affordable high speed satellite internet to virtually everywhere on earth via a constellation of low earth orbit satellites that beam internet data to and from customers via a small satellite dish.
The project was first announced by Elon Musk in 2015 and SpaceX, the owner of Starlink, has been launching satellites for the past 3 years since May 2019.
There are already 2200 Starlink satellites in orbit which is approximately half of the 4408 planned for the first generation of the Starlink network.
SpaceX has permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put 12,000 Starlink satellites in orbit and the company has filed paperwork with an international regulator to launch up to 30,000 more.
Ultimately Elon Musk's goal is to have as many as 42,000 Starlink satellites in orbit around the earth!
Fortunately for us Down Under, the southern half of Australia is one of the first regions to be able to access the Starlink satellite internet service as it rolls out.
The rest of Australia is scheduled to come online in early 2023.
Customers in Australia are able to buy the Starlink hardware kit which includes a small satellite dish, wifi router and the necessary cables and power supply.
The dish can stand freely on the ground or be mounted on the roof of the customers house or other building.
In Australia, the Starlink kit costs $924 for the hardware plus $150 shipping and handling.
The monthly subscription for the satellite internet service with unlimited traffic is $139 per month plus $35 extra for the Portability feature .
Recent Innovations in Starlink Technology
Starlink continues to pioneer advancements in satellite and user-terminal technology to enhance user experience and ensure reliable performance.
- Refined satellite and user terminal: The satellites now feature advanced thermal control systems for increased durability and longevity in space. The user terminal has been refined to offer a more user-friendly experience, offering increased sensitivity for consistent internet access even in regions with low satellite density.
- Superior data transmission: Advancements in data transmission have resulted in improved speeds and reduced latency, facilitating smoother real-time communication and supporting high-bandwidth applications.
- Adaptive beamforming and enhanced security: Starlink has implemented adaptive beamforming technology to focus signals precisely, ensuring more stable connections across diverse topographies. Additionally, enhanced security protocols guarantee a secure and private online environment for users.
- Expanded ground stations: The strategic addition of ground stations has enhanced network reliability and broadened coverage, improving the overall connectivity experience for users globally.
Starlink remains committed to delivering unparalleled satellite internet services worldwide by relentlessly refining technology.
According to Starlink, users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations.
Which is certainly a lot faster than the speeds I can get with the NBN at my house in Melbourne.
When I first watched the keynote with Elon Musk announcing the Starlink project back in 2015 my first thought was that this would be a complete game changer for remote communications in Australia.
For people who live & work outside the reach of the 'hard wired' NBN, satellite internet has always been their only option so Starlink should be very welcome upgrade for them.
For those of us that love to travel in remote areas, Starlink is opening up the possibility of us taking high speed internet with us everywhere we go.
For adventurers and travelers venturing into areas where electrical grid access is unavailable or unreliable, having a sustainable power source is crucial to maintaining connectivity. It's practical to couple your Starlink with a power station to ensure uninterrupted access to high-speed internet. This combination promises constant connectivity and empowers digital nomads and remote workers to venture further without compromising productivity or online access.
Effectively turning our vehicles or vans into 'mobile hot spots'.
Earlier this year in January, SpaceX filed an application with the FCC for the operation of a new more ruggedized user terminal that can better withstand extremes of heat and cold.
They have also sought permission from the FCC to deploy Starlink satellite internet to moving vehicles including trucks, boats and aircraft which are collectively described as Earth Stations In Motion (ESIMs).
Elon Musk has stated that there are no plans for Starlink in cars as the terminal is much too big "Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs"
But even so, having a terminal installed on your caravan or RV or able to be quickly mounted in the field on the roof rack of your 4WD sounds like it will soon be a reality.
So at this stage it doesn't look like hand held pocket sized Starlink devices are on the agenda but like all things in tech, they just get smaller and smaller.
The first mobile phones needed to be installed in a vehicle and now they easily fit in your pocket, so never say never!
I know a lot of people, me included, enjoy the solitude of being offline and disconnected from the world in Australia's remote places but it's inevitable that this is going to become a thing of the past.
On the positive side, it will make for more safer remote travel and give more people more freedom to truly travel and work from anywhere.
And of course how we use it and whether we use it at all remains a personal choice.