Starlink is SpaceX’s network of satellites in low Earth orbit, designed to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the globe. There are currently about 2,700 Starlite satellites to support the global network. As of May, SpaceX told the FCC that Starlink had over 400,000 subscribers.
The FCC states that approving the new capability is in the public’s interest. “We agree with SpaceX and Kepler that the public interest would benefit by granting with conditions their applications,” the FCC wrote in its authorization. “Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight.”
For some time, SpaceX has been very vocal in its desire to expand Starlink service beyond residential consumer use. SpaceX has signed an early deal with Hawaiian Airlines and one with semiprivate charter provider JSX to provide Wi-Fi on planes.
SpaceX has already deployed a version of its satellite service called “Starlink for RVs.” It requires an additional “portability” fee. But portability is not the same as mobility, which the new FCC decision now allows. It will also apply to ships at sea and even long-haul semi-tractor trailers.
Customers who want the Starlink service must purchase a user terminal for $599 and then pay $110/month for usage.
It’s clear that this decision opens new worlds of connectivity literally all over the world.