US Approves SpaceX Starlink Internet for Use with Ships, Boats and Aircraft | Investing News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday authorized Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet network with moving vehicles, green-lighting the company’s plan to expand broadband offerings to commercial airlines, shipping ships and trucks. given.

Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of Internet-beaming satellites in orbit, has long sought to expand its customer base from individual broadband users in rural, Internet-poor locations to corporate customers in the potentially lucrative automotive, shipping and aviation sectors.

“Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing demand from users who now require connectivity while on the go,” the FCC said in its authorization published Thursday. following the plans outlined in SpaceX’s request for approval early last year.

SpaceX has steadily launched some 2,700 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit since 2019 and has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, including many who pay $110 a month for broadband internet using $599 self-install terminal kits.

The Hawthorne, California-based aerospace company has focused heavily on airline searches around Starlink for in-flight Wi-Fi in recent years, having signed its first such deals in recent months with Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private jet service JSX.

“We are obsessed with the passenger experience,” Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink’s head of commercial sales, said at an aviation conference earlier this month. “We’re going to be on the plane here very soon, so hopefully passengers will be impressed with the experience.”

SpaceX, under a previous experimental FCC license, has tested aircraft-tuned Starlink terminals on Gulfstream jets and U.S. military aircraft.

Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has previously said that the types of vehicles Starlink would be used with under Thursday’s approval were airplanes, ships, large trucks and RVs. Musk, also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc, had said he “didn’t see connecting Tesla cars to Starlink because our terminal is way too big”.

Competition in the low-Earth orbit satellite internet sector is fierce between SpaceX, satellite operator OneWeb and the Kuiper project of Jeff Bezos, a part of e-commerce giant Amazon.com that plans to later prototype the first satellites of its own broadband network. launch this year.

(Reporting by Joey Roulette; editing by Leslie Adler)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters

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