Things that needn't be said: Don't plonk a massive Starlink dish on the hood of your car

It's illegal


The California Highway Patrol has issued a warning to motorists that, frankly, needn't be said. Don't whack a massive Starlink satellite dish to the hood of your car. It's a bit illegal.

Officer T Caton, of the Antelope Valley division of the California Highway Patrol, stopped the driver after spotting the massive broadband receiver stuck in front of the windscreen, with a cable snaking up through the driver-side window.

The unnamed driver of the car – which wasn't a Tesla but some form of Toyota hybrid – was found to be in violation of section 26708(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code, and ordered to remove the offending item.

It's not clear whether the offender was issued a fine. First offenders can be given a $25 penalty, with repeat offenders charged $197 and slapped with an infraction (which differs to a more serious misdemeanour or felony).

The law in question was written to deal with more routine issues, such as promotional signage that blocks visibility, or excessive tinting that makes a driver feel as though they have cataracts. It also addresses where a driver can position a phone on their dashboard. Suffice to say, it wasn't drawn up with this scenario in mind.

Starlink, which began its UK rollout earlier this year, allows anyone to get an internet connection that's billed as competitive with fixed line in terms of speed and latency without actually having to be wired up to a terrestrial network.

The SpaceX-owned provider currently has 1,635 active satellites, with 12,000 planned. This may increase to 30,000 as the FCC sought permission from the International Telecommunications Union on SpaceX's s behalf in 2019.

But surfing this way is not cheap. Punters are asked to fork out $499 for the dish and modem, with a further recurring $99 monthly subscription fee.

And that's not including any fines caused by questionable positioning. ®

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