Starlink Maritime – New Affordable Satellite Internet for Boats
Up until recently, your best options for affordable internet service while on the water have been marine wifi and cellular boosters. But now, with the introduction of SpaceX’s Starlink Maritime internet service, you have another affordable internet service you can use on your boat, which offers many advantages over other internet options.
Expensive marine satellite internet plans have been available for years that have provided this offshore advantage, as well as early Starlink internet packages which seem to have been aimed at megayacht owners and commercial vessel operators – including a $10,000 hardware package of two terminals and $5,000 monthly service plans. However, now Starlink Maritime plans are available that most boaters can afford.
Starlink Maritime Satellite Internet has many advantageous features compared to other onboard internet options, including:
- Global maritime coverage – Starlink service spans the globe, allowing you to connect to the internet from most of the Earth’s oceans and seas
- Easy-to-install – The flat high-performance Starlink receiver has a small footprint, taking up minimal above deck space, and including an easy-to-install mount
- Safe and secure monitoring – Remotely monitor and manage your Starlink service. End-to-end encryption protects your data
- Pay as you go – Pay for your service in one month increments, allowing you to start and customize the service around your travel needs
New Affordable Starlink Maritime Satellite Internet Packages
New Starlink Maritime plans include a one-time hardware cost of $2,500 and monthly plans as low as $250/month for 50 GB of data. This is a much smaller upfront investment and monthly cost than the previous packages offered by Starlink that require a $5,000 investment, and plans starting at $1,000 per month. However, depending on your budget and onboard internet needs, Starlink’s other packages may fit better, which include 5 terabytes of data for $5,000 and 1 terabyte of data for $1,000. Seeing how quickly these new packages have been offered, however, I can imagine new offerings will continue to be released that may work better towards your internet needs, and at more affordable rates.
Cost per GB of priority data
Other Improvements in Starlink’s Maritime Service
Starlink recently changed how their service worked once internet data was used up. Previously it would continue at a severely limited bandwidth of just 1mbps for uploads and downloads. Now instead of limiting your service, you can continue to use the internet at a cost of $2 per gigabyte, a much better option.
The service can also be paid for on a month-to-month basis, and can be suspended when not in use. This was previously available, but it was a somewhat difficult process to cancel and reconnect according to many users. However, this process appears to have been improved.
Is the 50 GB Starlink Maritime Plan Enough Data for Your Internet Needs?
Would Starlink’s $250 dollar 50GB data plan be good enough for you and your passengers?
Here’s a breakdown of how much data is used per hour (on a web browser) for video usage:
Low: Basic video quality, up to 0.3 GB
Medium: Standard video quality, up to 0.7 GB
High: Best video quality:
- Standard definition: up to 1GB
- High definition: up to 3GB
- Ultra high definition (4k): up to 7GB
Mobile & App Data Usage
The following breakdown of apps and data required, may further help your planning:
|Data per Hour
|Up to 150MB
|Lossless Music Streaming (Tidal)
For a more detailed breakdown related to how much data you need, see here.
Keep in mind that the faster throughput performance you get with your plan, the faster you can use up all of your data. However, with prudent use, you can really stretch out your data.
Taking care of the key needs onboard – checking weather, staying in touch with folks on shore, a bit of web browsing and some voice-over IP calls – will barely make a dent on the 50 GB plan. Entertainment will be the question, however. If you stream quite a bit of TV shows and movies, you will need to carefully plan, or perhaps go over and pay a bit extra, or consider a larger data package.
Starlink Maritime – Best Option for Onboard Internet
Looks like Starlink’s maritime internet usage at first will be like the early days of the internet, where you will have to carefully plan and ration your internet usage. But much like regular internet, Starlink should rapidly begin to improve their offerings to fill gaps as they scale, and supply more than enough internet for your regular usage, and at an affordable rate.
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