Despite the growth of the internet, there are still many locations across the globe where people cannot get online.
In fact, the U.N. estimates that roughly a third of the world’s population has never accessed the internet in their entire lives.
Ground-based infrastructure, such as wires and cables, has traditionally made coverage expansion a very costly undergoing. This is exactly where Starlink, which utilizes a constellation of thousands of satellites in earth’s low orbit, comes into play.
One of Starlink’s biggest draws was the promise of functioning internet connections anywhere in the world. But is that really the case?
In short, Starlink can be used almost everywhere in the United States as well as in more than 50 other countries across the globe.
However, the more unsatisfying answer is that it still depends on where you are based and how you intend to access Starlink.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at where it is available and how it can be accessed.
Does Starlink Work Anywhere? How To Check If It’s Available In Your Country
In the hopefully not-so-distant future, you will be able to log onto the internet using Starlink from anywhere in the world.
In fact, Starlink’s theoretical worldwide coverage signifies one of its biggest advantages. However, until then, there’s still some waiting to be done.
To check if Starlink is available in your area, simply navigate to its Coverage Map, which details where the service is already live, pending regulatory approval, and so forth.
Simply type in your address in the search bar below and the site will immediately tell you if Starlink is available in your area or not.
Generally speaking, the coverage area of Starlink is dependent on two main factors, namely the number of deployed satellites and regulatory approvals by each individual country.
The southern parts of the world, namely countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, are projected to come live sometime in 2023. In recent times, Starlink became available in Panama and Mozambique, among others.
Customers in countries that Starlink is set to launch in normally will have to place their names on a waitlist.
Receiving the hardware may, depending on where you live and other factors such as potential supply chain issues, take multiple months or even over a year.
Can You Take Starlink Wherever You Want?
Again, the answer to that question is that it depends. More precisely, it is based on the plan that you have chosen.
Starlink currently offers two distinct plans for consumers, namely Residential and RV (now called Roam). The Residential plan, which costs $90 or $120 per month in the United States, allows you to only use Starlink at your registered address.
While there is some leeway in terms of changing the location of your dish (more on that later), you can’t just move it from one state to another, for example.
“Your Starlink is assigned to a single cell,” Starlink writes in its FAQ section. “If you move your Starlink outside of its assigned cell, a satellite will not be scheduled to serve your Starlink and you will not receive internet. This is constrained by geometry and is not arbitrary geofencing.”
However, there is at least some flexibility. Both Residential and Roam customers can bring their hardware outside of the country they’re registered in for a total of 2 months according to Starlink support.
There are a few reasons why Starlink limits the mobility of its dishes. For once, the service could face a congestion problem if an overwhelming number of people try to access it. Think, for example, of popular camping sites that normally lack cell coverage.
In the past, there’s been some indication that download and upload speeds were negatively affected by network congestion. Starlink simply wants to preserve the quality of its service, especially for customers that are tied to a specific location.
The other potential issue is the exploitation of different price plans. Starlink, as you can see in our above-mentioned price list, is charging substantially less for both the monthly subscription and hardware across Europe and many other regions.
They obviously want to avoid customers purchasing the device in a low-cost jurisdiction and then bringing it back to the United States or other pricier areas.
Starlink, for people that do want to get access to reliable internet while being on the go, offers the RV plan. Starlink for RV was first unveiled back in May 2022 and costs an additional $25 per month for a total of $150 (for U.S. customers).
Furthermore, Starlink now also offers a global roaming service as part of the rebrand to Roam. For $200 a month, users can take their hardware with them wherever there’s active service coverage.
The plan can not only be used by people traveling in RVs but also by residential users that go on camping trips or have seasonal homes, for instance.
In-motion usage (i.e., the van driving) is also possible as long as the customer is using a Flat High Performance dish. A Wedge mount is included in the package to allow for the secure installation of the dish.
By the way, using the Flat High Performance dish while being on the move without the Wedge mount, or using any other Starlink model will void the limited warranty of your Starlink.
Unfortunately, RV customers will receive lower priority over those with registered residential addresses during peak usage times. This may be a problem depending on where they are located at the time of accessing the device.
Can I Use My Starlink at a Different Address?
Yes, you can use your Starlink at a different address. Customers can change their service address or subscribe to Starlink’s Roam plan.
In order to change your service address, do the following:
- Sign into your account
- Choose ‘Manage’ under ‘Your Starlinks’ for the Starlink plan you would like to change the service address for
- Click on the ‘pencil icon’ next to ‘Service Address’
- Enter your new address
- Click on ‘Save’
The change should be instantaneous, granted that Starlink is available at your newly selected address. Keep in mind that customers who change their service address are not able to use their previous one anymore.
Starlink Roam, on the other side, enables customers to move their hardware to another location within their country of registration.
However, Roam users will also be deprioritized when it comes to speed, as determined by Starlink’s Fair Use Policy.
Customers can also add a second address to their existing accounts by clicking on the + sign in the ‘Your Starlinks’ section, which can be accessed here.
However, each new location requires you to purchase another Starlink hardware set as well as pay for the monthly subscription. Personal accounts are limited to 100 locations.
How Far Can You Move Starlink Devices?
There’s no definitive answer as to how far you can move your Starlink devices from the registered service address. As I’ve written above, Starlink does utilize geofencing technology to restrict access.
Some users have reported that you can potentially move the device up to 35 miles (~ 56 kilometers) away from the registered address. Others said that geofencing kicks in at a distance of 10 miles (~ 16 kilometers).
The distance that one could get away with is dependent on where the user is located in the beam bandwidth and the satellite’s location. People who are directly below a satellite tend to have some greater leeway in terms of how they can move around the satellite.
In any case, you won’t lose the ability to access Starlink for good if you’re outside the service area. The system simply stops working until it’s moved back to the designated area.
There’s already a multitude of options that customers can take advantage of to use their Starlink device almost anywhere they want to.
In fact, we haven’t even covered existing options such as maritime or the potential usage of Starlink on moving objects such as airplanes or buses, which are both in the works.
Customers that want that kind of flexibility do need to be aware that speed may be an issue, though. They also have to pay a premium for the luxury of moving their devices around.