New York (CNN Business) — Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite-based Internet company, has now received approval from the US government to expand its service to aircraft, ships, automobiles, RVs and other mobile vehicles.
The move will allow the company to expand its customer base, which until now has focused solely on providing internet services of about $100 per month to homes, mostly in areas not served by traditional ground-based internet services. It has hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the world.
Now the company is likely to begin rolling out services to commercial airlines, possibly starting with Hawaiian Airlines, which signed a deal with SpaceX in April and said it plans to bring free Starlink services to some jets.
The regulatory approval, issued Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission, also gives SpaceX the ability to expand its service to trains, ships and other vehicles, opening up a wide range of potential business customers. The company has also already advertised its services to RV drivers.
Traditionally, airlines, ships and trains rely on satellites in geosynchronous orbit, an orbit more than 32,000 miles away, provided by companies such as ViaSat. SpaceX’s Starlink takes a different approach to broadcasting the Internet from space by placing thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit, or just a few hundred miles from the ground. The company says this offers lower latency or lag times for its service.
It’s not clear how Starlink’s mobile services will be priced, but SpaceX is already selling its service directly to businesses.
“With more than double Starlink’s antenna capacity, Starlink Business delivers faster internet speeds and higher throughput,” the company states on its website. “$500/month with one-time hardware cost of $2,500.”
SpaceX also rolled out Starlink for RVs earlier this year for $135 a month, though prior to this week’s FCC approval, the service focused only on providing internet to RVs when they’re standing still.
For those hoping to see the internet rolled out directly to their cars, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter last year that this probably won’t be the case, saying: “Tesla cars don’t connect to Starlink because our terminal is way too much. big… This is for airplanes, ships, big trucks and RVs.”
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 keep a close eye on which companies are allowed to use which frequencies so signals don’t interfere with each other.
Companies such as ViaSat, Dish Network and wireless company RS Access have filed suit against the FCC’s decision.
SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment for this story.