SpaceX’s satellite-based internet service, Starlink, now has US government approval to expand its services to planes, ships, automobiles, trailers and other mobile vehicles.
The move prepares the company to expand its customer base, which until now has only focused on providing internet services at around $100 a month to homes, mostly in areas not served by traditional terrestrial service.
Now, SpaceX will likely begin rolling out services to commercial airlines, possibly starting with Hawaiian Airlines, which signed a deal with the company in April saying it planned to bring complementary Starlink services to some jets.
The regulatory approval, issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday, also grants SpaceX the ability to expand its services to trains, ships and other vehicles, opening up a wide range of potential. corporate customers. The company is also already advertising its services to trailer drivers.
Traditionally, airlines, ships and trains have relied on satellites in geosynchronous orbit, an orbit band that is more than 22,000 miles away, provided by companies such as ViaSat.
SpaceX’s Starlink takes a different approach to transmitting internet from space, putting thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit, or just a few hundred kilometers from the ground. The company says this offers lower latency, or lag times, for its service.
It’s unclear how Starlink’s mobile services can be priced, but SpaceX already markets its service directly to companies.
“With more than twice the antenna capacity of Starlink, Starlink Business offers faster internet speeds and higher throughput,” the company states on its website. “$500 a month with a one-time hardware cost of $2,500.”
SpaceX also launched Starlink for RVs earlier this year for $135 a month, although prior to this week’s FCC approval, the service focused on providing internet for RVs only when they’re stationary.
For those hoping to have internet access directly in their cars, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter last year that this will likely not be the case, saying “Do not connect Tesla cars to Starlink as our terminal It’s very big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks and trailers.”
The FCC’s decision also marks another chapter in an ongoing battle over spectrum rights. Spectrum refers to a range of radio frequencies, and federal regulators closely protect which companies are allowed to use which frequencies so the signals don’t interfere with each other.
Companies such as ViaSat, Dish Network and wireless company RS Access have filed a petition against the FCC decision. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Source: CNN Brasil