SpaceX announced last week the immediate launch of Starlink for RVs, a version of the satellite internet service optimized for VR and mobile use. Award-winning German campervan manufacturer Alphavan was quick to break the news, declaring itself the world’s first motorhome company to offer Starlink-ready vans. It will prepare its namesake trucks, already among the best four-wheel smart homes available worldwide, for simple, plug-and-play compatibility with Musk’s off-grid internet service. The new vans promise to be ideal for digital nomads, particularly families who can take full advantage of Alphavan’s flexible double bedroom + living room floor plan.
From first satellites found its way into space, Starlink has sounded like a boon to RVers, particularly those who regularly travel through countries or wilderness areas without mobile coverage and those who rely on mobile internet to work remotely while on the road. But the service hasn’t started out as RV-friendly as it seems on paper, requiring users to log in with a specific location, a problem by definition for RVs and others on the go.
Earlier this month, SpaceX took the first step in smoothing things out for mobile users when it enabled mobile roaming with a new “portability” feature. The $25 add-on allows users to temporarily move their service to new areas and gain access without being tied to a single address.
Last week, SpaceX took the next step toward better RV service when it launched Starlink for RVs, a version of the service that offers a more flexible, travel- and RV-friendly structure that can be paused and reactivated. RV Service provides high-speed, low-latency Internet access to any destination that is part of Starlink’s active coverage area.
“Starlink for RVs can be used anywhere Starlink provides service and is ideal for camping and other activities in rural or remote locations where Internet access has been unreliable or completely unavailable,” SpaceX announced at the social networks.
VR service comes with a disclaimer: “Network resources are always given priority for Starlink RV users compared to other Starlink services, resulting in degraded service and slower speeds in congested areas.” and during peak hours. Stated speeds and uninterrupted use of service are not guaranteed. Service degradation will be most extreme in the ‘Waiting List’ areas on the Starlink Availability Map during peak hours.”
Also, Starlink is not currently designed to be used on the move, so you will still need to stop the van to access it. The company says it’s working on the on-the-go capability, but attempting to use it while driving now will void the equipment’s warranty.
Starlink isn’t yet the perfect, universal, worldwide Internet that RVers crave, but it’s another step in that direction. And we guess the kinds of remote locations that make Starlink especially attractive to RVs shouldn’t experience much congestion from other Starlink users.
Alphavan was quick to capitalize on the Starlink news, announcing a couple of days later that it will offer “Ready for Starlink” trucks, adding an optional Starlink package with pre-wired and dish mounting hardware. Equipped motorhomes will come out of the factory ready to plug and play, and the smart TV already on offer will work just fine with the Starlink connection.
Among the most high-tech motorhomes out there, Alphavan motorhomes are a perfect fit with the latest in satellite internet connectivity. Along with the aforementioned smart TV and an optional Jehnert premium sound system, the trucks include a with MBAC technology smart home control system that can be accessed from the living area touch screen, the MBUX driver’s cab infotainment screen, or a mobile device with the accompanying app.
The Alphaven is also one of the most spacious and well-organized motorhomes around, turning it from a comfortable 736 cm (290 in) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter into a comfortable four-bedroom living space. The floor plan includes a semi-private master bedroom area in the upper rear, a wet room, a spacious living room, and a FlexPort that serves as both a garage and a cozy children’s bedroom. You can read more about Alphavan’s impressive design, weight-optimizing construction, and feature set on our Original article on it, but it’s notable that months after its introduction, the truck took home the prestigious Red Dot Best of the Best 2021 and IF Design awards.
The Alphavan starts at €167,000 (approx. US$179,250) before tax, and can be specified as rear-wheel drive or 4×4 with the Mercedes 4Matic system. Alphavan has not announced how much the Starlink package will cost.
Alphavan owners will still need to activate service from Starlink. The service costs $135 per month plus a one-time hardware fee of $599 and gives users the ability to pause and reactivate the service as needed, providing flexibility that should prove invaluable for the unpredictable conditions of living and traveling in road. However, users are always charged for a full month and charges are not prorated for shorter increments. More information about Starlink for RVs can be found at starlink.com/rv.