Starlink’s Internet-from-space service continues to expand into new use cases with the launch of Starlink Maritime† What started at home before expanding to stationary RVs is now available for boats on the move, at a cost of $5,000 per month. SpaceX targets merchant ships, oil rigs and wealthy superyacht owners with the service.
Starlink Maritime also requires a one-time purchase of $10,000 of two made robust high-quality Starlink dishes that ship in about two weeks, according to the US order page. In comparison, the hardware for Starlink’s home and RV services costs $599 and includes a single (smaller) “Dishy McFlatface” (as the dish is known to fans), with monthly subscriptions of $110 for the home service or $135 for vanlifers. Importantly, using the RV service on the move is not allowed and will void the warranty.
Like Starlink RV, a Starlink Maritime subscription can be paused in the months you don’t need it. It is also offered without a data cap like all Starlink plans, but SpaceX does warn against “excessive use of network services”.
SpaceX posted a side-by-side comparison of live video footage captured on a SpaceX drone ship. On the right is footage captured via Starlink Maritime versus an undisclosed service that costs $150,000 per month according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk “a much worse connection.†
Maritime subscribers can expect a mixed bag of achievements compared to Starlink Residential and RV services. Marine speeds of 100-350 Mbps down and 20-40 Mbps up are slightly faster than residential thanks to those dual terminals, but latency is worse at <99 ms compared to 20-40 ms for others. Even then, those are just "performance goals" according to the fine print† If you pay SpaceX $5,000 each month for Maritime, you can expect a guaranteed level of service, but at least you won’t be bothered by trees blocking the sky.
Starlink Maritime’s coverage includes coastal waters around the US (including the Great Lakes), European waters from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, waters around New Zealand and most of Australia, and parts of South America. More expansion comes in the fourth quarter with the launch of additional satellites. SpaceX currently has over 2,400 Starlink satellites in low to medium Earth orbit 400,000 users†
The launch of Starlink Maritime comes a week after the FCC approved the use of Starlink on moving vehicles. The Maritime Service includes an FCC statement about potential interference when operating in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band – the workhorse frequencies used by Starlink that Dish Network plans to use to provide 5G services.
“Starlink’s moving operations, including for ships, must accept any interference received from both current and future services authorized in the band – even if such interference causes unwanted operations for Starlink Services and its customers.”
That’s rather ominous given the current spat between SpaceX and Dish. SpaceX says Dish’s plans for 5G over 12GHz would “make Starlink useless”. Dish says SpaceX is lying.