The decision marks a major win for SpaceX as it can now expand its Starlink internet service to a wider range of customers.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized SpaceX to provide its Starlink satellite internet to moving vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats and aircraft.
The FCC said there was a public interest in enabling “never before available” services that could help facilitate higher-quality broadband services “in the air, on the road and on the water.”
“The authorization of a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing demands of users who now require connectivity while on the go, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a shipment from Europe to a US port. , or during a domestic or international flight,” the FCC said in its ruling, published yesterday (June 30).
The decision marks a major win for SpaceX as it can expand its Starlink service to a wider range of customers. It currently advertises the service to residential, business and RV users.
Starlink is creating a network of low-orbit satellites that has the potential to bring the Internet to users anywhere in the world, regardless of local infrastructure. In Ireland, the system has been tested by residents in rural areas of Cork and west Kerry.
SpaceX has scored a number of FCC wins in recent years to push the Starlink project forward. In April 2021, the FCC granted approval to operate almost 3,000 Starlink satellites in lower orbits than originally planned. SpaceX argued that this would give a much lower delay in the signal, shortening the transmission time.
SpaceX has launched about 2,700 satellites so far to support its global network and told the FCC in May that it had more than 400,000 Starlink subscribers, CNBC reported.
But this service comes at a price, which may limit distribution. For example, it costs RV users $629 upfront for the necessary equipment and $124 per month thereafter.
The Starlink network has also previously been criticized by astronomers for its impact on their ability to conduct research. In April 2021, the International Astronomical Union asked the United Nations to take action on the issue.
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