Are Big Rig Satellite Systems Available For You To Watch TV or Surf the Internet?

Big Rig satellite systems for TV and Internet access for truckers are slowly coming to market. Some big rig satellite systems require the truck to be parked while some systems allow In-Motion viewing.

The In-Motion satellite systems can cost almost 4 times the amount of a system used when your truck is parked with a view of the Southern sky. With the focus in the past mostly on the RV market, companies are now looking to cash in on the growing consumer demand for vehicle-in-motion access to TV and Internet service.

Portable Satellite Systems Available for Truckers

Here are few dishes (mountable and portable) perfect for truckers on the road, tailgating, races, camping, picnics, traveling and other outdoor activities.

There is a several hundred dollar difference in the prices of the  dishes shown on the market with the more expensive systems having more bells and whistles. Compare the listed dishes and see which device allows you to feel more at home on the road.

Satellite Subscription Service Required:

The dish is only part of what is needed as you read in the description about receivers. You will still need the following to complete the system:

  • Television or a computer capable of receiving television signals 
  • Satellite TV Receiver 
  • Satellite TV subscription service like Dishnetwork or DirectTv.The service will usually also provide the needed satellite TV receiver that connects between the dish and TV. Tip to save you money: It might be possible to add an additional receiver to your home satellite plan to take on the road with you to use with the portable satellite dish. 
  • Your truck will most likey need to be parked with a view of the southern sky but you will need to verify this with your selected service provider.


Other More Expensive Options

One company,, has a system available that can be mounted on cars, trucks, boats and RV’s. The cost for the system runs in the range of $3000 to $4000 for the unit. Expect a unit installation charge which varies depending on type of vehicle and finally your monthly cost to get programming through Dish Network.

Another company, mobilsat, offers In-Motion TV service and In-Motion Internet Service but they are two separate systems. In-Motion satellite TV systems run in the range of $2500 or more depending on the system.

Before you decide that is too costly and you are an owner operator who deducts expenses as a business owner; check with your tax accountant to see if it possible to deduct the system as a business expense.

You will be doing business by looking for freight loads, sending faxes to brokers and business emails. You may also be allowed to depreciate the cost of the unit over the life of the unit.

Sounds Great But What Other Satellite System Can I Use For My Big Rig?

Use Your Existing Satellite System Used at Home 

You can do what some truckers are doing to get access when they are stuck out in remote areas. Some truckers are utilizing their Direct TV or Dish network system by signing up for TV and Internet service that allows you to take the dish with you while out on the road.

The service is no different than taking your system with you to the lake for the week.

What are the limitations of taking my satellite system on the road?

•You will need room to store the dish

•You will need an unobstructed view of the southern US sky to use the system of your choice.

•Your rig would have to be stationary to get a fixed signal to the satellite positioned in the southern sky.

•The mini dish would have to be mounted on a tripod or placed temporarily on the roof of your tractor to use the system. They are lightweight and easily set up to get you connected.

•While you can’t watch TV as you go down the road, many packages include a DVR receiver that allows you to record programs while you watch other programs or record programs as you sleep.

You can have hours of TV program recorded to occupy you or your passenger’s time the next day while traveling or waiting at a customer’s load center.


Who Has Satellite Systems That Offer Internet and TV Access?

•DirectTV and Dishnetwork are the two providers used to access TV programming via the satellite systems in the United States.

•Wildblue is the provider of satellite internet access. Wildblue offers internet access only.

•Both Direct TV and Dish Network have teamed up with Wild Blue to offer their customers TV and Internet access where you can save money by ordering both services as a combination package

Forget TV – I Want Internet Access Only

You have three options:

  1. Use satellite systems that offer internet access only 
  2. Wait until you are in areas where Wi-Fi (wireless) internet service is available 
  3. Use internet wireless services through a cell phone carrier when you are in range of a digital signal. 

Companies With Satellite Internet Access:


WiFi (Wireless) Internet Access 

Usually found available in large metro areas or at larger truckstops. Expect to pay for access to this service unless you get lucky enough to find a public Wi-Fi access service which are becoming more available.

Use the eight (8) links below to find Wi-Fi access systems available throughout the United States.

TruckStops with Wi-Fi Acess – Average Price is $200 per year – Billed Daily, Monthly and Annually

•Flying J truckstop

•TravelCenters of America

•Love's Travel Stops

•Rip Griffin Travel Centers

•Pilot Travel Centers

That is a lot of money to spend for internet access when you get lucky enough to get to the truck stop early enough to get a spot for the night.

The other options where 24-7 coast to coast internet access to the internet is available sure sound good when not having internet access could mean the difference between deadheading home and finding a good paying load.

Finding that load to keep from deadheading back home just a couple times would pay for a year’s worth of satellite service for internet access and TV programming access.

Wi-Fi Access Locator

Use the links below to locate Wi-Fi access areas across the United States. Some will be free, public or fee based.

Cell Phone Internet Services: Internet Service is usually available as long as you have a digital signal.

Caution: Typically, you need to be in a digital area to be able to use internet service and in an EVDO area for access to high speed capability especially when usually Verizon’s cell phone service.

Verify internet access capability with your cell phone carrier to know what to expect before you rely on this option to find your freight loads. It would be costly to drive two hundred miles only to go back the same way to pick up a load.

•Use your cell phone as a high speed modem connected to your computer by using a data connection kit – Verify requirements with your cell phone service provider

•Cell data cards that transmit data via cell phone towers by plugging the device into your computer’s PCMCIA or PC Express slot can be used to connect with the internet. Verify requirements with your cell phone service provider and computer manufacturer as needed

•Basic 1X Internet-in-Motion Cellular Router – Transparent interface

•Advanced EVDO Internet-in-Motion Cellular Router – Check to see if your cell phone carrier supports this device.

It's Your Decision!

There are many products out on the market to consider using for your business or entertaiment when out on the road.

Whether it is a big rig satellite system, cell phone internet access or using Wi-Fi access, the decision is yours to make.

Big Rig can’t make that decision for you.

We do suggest that you be diligent in doing your homework to make the decision that is best for you. Keep in mind some internet big rig satellite systems per minute usage cost is high compared to cell phone or Wi-Fi internet access.

Is a 24-7 connection to the internet worth it in your quest to earn top dollar in the industry?

You will have to decide if the higher cost is worth it to you especially in the highly competitive hunt for good paying loads.

Good Luck and Stay Safe!