You’ve been living without decent internet options for years, and now Starlink comes along to completely change the way you think about satellite internet. The high latency, slow speeds, and contracts of HughesNet or Viasat are a far cry from the blazing fast performance that Starlink offers.
The reviews and performance specifications for Starlink are all positive, and you are sure it is the right option for your next internet provider. But how do you sign up? How do you know if Starlink is available in your area? Perhaps you have already put down a deposit. When will the capacity in your area expand?
In this article, I will explain the steps that you can take to see if Starlink is available at your location. I’ll go through the order process and show you the different sign up options. And finally, I will take a look at how fast Starlink is expanding, and when you can expect service to cover different areas of the United States.
Is Starlink Available In My Area?
Starlink currently has active coverage throughout the United States, as well as many other countries. But exactly when you can start receiving service depends on many factors, including number of satellites in orbit, number of ground stations, and current subscriber count in your area.
How To Check for Starlink Availability
Before you can sign up for Starlink internet service, you need to check and see if it is available in your area. Fortunately, it is a very easy process that can be completed in just a few seconds:
- Visit the Starlink website at www.Starlink.com
- Type in your address and click Order Now
- See what type of order you can place, a pre-order deposit, or full order. See the detailed sections for your order type below
Starlink Waitlist Pre-Order
If you get the message, “Order now to reserve your Starlink. Starlink expects to expand service in your area in 2023” on the next screen, that means that service is available, but you will need to join the waitlist and wait to get Starlink.
To pre-order and join the waitlist, you will pay a $99 deposit. During your pre-order, Starlink will provide you with an estimate for when you will receive service. For example, you might see the message, “Starlink expects to expand service in your area in [current-year]”.
If you do put down the $99 deposit, your account page on the Starlink website will be updated if the estimated service availability date changes. The deposit is fully refundable, and you can cancel your pre-order at any time to get your money back.
Full Starlink Order
If you see a screen with the message, “Starlink is currently available in your area!”, that means Starlink is available in your area immediately. You will be asked to pay up-front for the Starlink hardware kit, which is $599. You might also need to pay for shipping and tax depending on your location.
Starlink has a return policy of 30 days. If you receive your kit and the service doesn’t work as you had hoped, you can return the dish and get a full refund.
Starlink Coverage Map
The Starlink website has an interactive map that shows which areas of the country are available for full orders, and which are only available for pre-order. This is a good tool to be able to visualize how much of the country is covered by Starlink service.
You can also type in your address on the map to be taken directly to your area. From there, check the color on the map to determine if Starlink is available. You can also hover over an area on the map to see when Starlink estimates that service will be available.
What If I Don’t Have An Address?
If you don’t have a mailing address to search for on the Starlink availability map, you can use Google Plus Codes. To find your Plus Code, visit: https://maps.google.com/pluscodes
Search the map and find the exact location of your home. Then click on the location, and copy the code. Paste this code into the Starlink address search, and you are good to go!
You can also set your location on the map on Starlink.com. On the order page, start typing an address. Then select “Set location on map” from the auto search results. Drag the point to your exact location, and hit Order Now.
Can I Get Starlink Internet Now?
Yes, as long as your location has availability. Being able to order Starlink depends on multiple factors. The number of satellites in orbit, the existence of ground stations in an area, and also the number of subscribers in an area. If you are on the waitlist for Starlink, you’ll have to wait until the satellite constellation is expanded enough to handle more capacity.
If you don’t want to wait for Residential, there are a couple of options available, which I will explain next.
Starlink Best Effort
Pre-order waitlist customers might be offered a service plan called Best Effort. Best Effort is offered to some customers on the waitlist, and gives people the chance to get Starlink immediately, with reduced performance and reliability.
The tricky part about Best Effort is that it isn’t something you can request. If you are on the waitlist, Starlink will email you if you are eligible for the Best Effort offer. You can also check your Account Portal on Starlink.com to check and see if Best Effort is available.
When you order Best Effort, you get the Standard Residential hardware to use while you wait for Residential service. When capacity expands in your area, you will be automatically upgraded to Residential, with higher speeds and more reliability.
Starlink has different service tiers, including Residential, Roam, and Business. The Residential and Business plans require open availability at your service address in order to buy the kit. Starlink Roam, however, does not require open capacity at your home address. The Roam plan is designed to be portable, and can be used anywhere with a Starlink signal. Starlink has a Roam coverage map that shows where service is offered.
It’s important to keep in mind that Starlink Roam is deprioritized on the network. You may experience slower speeds compared to Residential customers. It’s also more expensive than the normal plan, and cannot be converted to Residential service at the moment. We do not recommend purchasing Starlink Roam to use permanently at your home unless you have no other options.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will I wait on the Starlink waitlist?
It varies by area. Typically, people wait 6 months at a minimum. There are people that pre-ordered in 2021 and are still waiting to get their Starlink kit. The good news is that Starlink provides an estimated date on your account when you pre-order. This will give you a good idea of when you can finally get Starlink.
What if my location is listed as “coming soon”?
When you check the availability map, you’ll see some areas, mainly outside of the US, showing as Coming Soon. This means that Starlink doesn’t yet have the necessary satellite coverage, ground stations, and/or regulatory approval to operate Starlink in that location. Starlink provides a rough estimate of when service will expand to that area if you hover over it using the map.
How fast is Starlink expanding?
Starlink is rapidly expanding their satellite constellation. Over the last couple years, SpaceX, the parent company of Starlink, has launched thousands of satellites, with thousands more planned to launch. There is typically a satellite launch every week, although it can take weeks, if not months, for the new satellites to be fully installed and operational in the constellation.
Starlink has said they now have over a million customers globally, with nearly that amount on the waitlist. I expect Starlink to rapidly expand to meet the demand, but that process takes time.
What happens if I cancel my pre-order?
If you put down a pre-order deposit and join the Starlink waitlist, cancelling will take you out of line. If you decide later to join again, you will go to the back of the line for your area.
How long does starlink take to ship?
Based on reports from my readers, most Starlink orders ship within 1-2 weeks after ordering. You can check the status of your order by logging into your account dashboard at Starlink.com. Scroll down to Your Orders to view the status. A tracking number will be provided if the order has already shipped.
The demand for Starlink satellite internet service is exploding as more and more people learn about it, and what it could bring to people without internet options. The Starlink website gives you multiple tools to determine if Starlink is available in your area. Ultimately, availability comes down to the amount of satellites in the constellation, and the number of other customers around you.
If possible, we recommend pre-ordering as soon as you can so that you can grab your spot in line. We believe Starlink will continue to expand rapidly, so timeline estimates given to your by Starlink may start to shrink.