SpaceX gives FCC nod to provide Starlink Wi-Fi to moving vehicles

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The approval enables the satellite network to serve aircraft, ships and trucks in the next step of expansion

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SpaceX has received official approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide Wi-Fi to moving vehicles, a long-sought goal for the company.

License in hand, the company’s Starlink service can now deliver Wi-Fi to planes, boats, ships and large trucks, a milestone that expands the capabilities of the ambitious satellite network.

Starlink provides high-speed Internet access to customers in remote locations in 36 countries, using satellite dishes to connect to a series of low-Earth orbit satellites. Residential customers can expect download speeds of around 104 Mbits/sec, while the company claims that companies that sign up for Starlink Business will get 150-350Mb/s.

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To date, the service has only been available for static use, as well as in a flexible package called “Starlink for RVs” in which customers can pause and resume their connection as they move between locations for an additional cost. SpaceX has not announced when customers will see the immediate benefits of the ruling.
Earlier this year, SpaceX signed an agreement with independent airline JSX to provide in-flight Wi-Fi for their flights, as well as with Hawaiian Airlines with the service going online next year. With Starlink’s reputation for strong satellite connectivity, it’s likely that other industries, such as shipping, will sign contracts with SpaceX in light of the FCC decision.

The network has recently been in the news for the praise it has received from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as civilians and soldiers in the war-torn country have continued to talk to loved ones and access crucial information systems using satellite receiver dishes delivered directly by SpaceX are delivered .

SpaceX has been ramping up Starlink deployment lately, with four launches in May alone adding 212 satellites to its ever-expanding network. More than 2,200 Starlink satellites are currently in orbit as part of the Gen1 phase, with an overall plan for 12,000 satellites cleared by the FCC several years ago to proceed.

SpaceX has filed paperwork to further expand this “megaconstellation” of satellites to between 30,000 and 42,000 over the next decade. This has sparked criticism from some in the space community, with concerns about the potential for debris from Starlink satellites to make orbital activity more dangerous, and astronomers last year asked the UN to look into the satellites’ increasing intrusion into long-exposed images of the satellites. night sky.

© Dennis Publishing

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