SpaceX gets permission to bring Starlink internet to planes

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The move allows the company to expand its customer base, which until now has focused solely on delivering internet services of around $100 per month to homes, primarily in areas that are not serviced by the Internet. traditional Internet service on the ground. He has hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the world.

Now the company is likely to start rolling out services to commercial airlines, possibly starting with Hawaiian Airlines, which signed a deal with SpaceX in April indicating it plans to bring free Starlink services to select jets.

The regulatory approval, issued Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission, also grants SpaceX the ability to extend its service to trains, ships and other vehicles, opening up a wide range of potential corporate customers. The company has also already announced its services for motorhome drivers.

Traditionally, airlines, ships and trains have relied on satellites in geosynchronous orbit, a band of orbit more than 22,000 miles away, provided by companies such as ViaSat. SpaceX’s Starlink takes a different approach to beaming the internet from space by placing thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit, or a few hundred miles above the ground. The company claims this provides lower latency, or lag times, for its service.

Pricing for Starlink’s mobile services is unclear, but SpaceX already markets its service directly to businesses.

“With more than double the antenna capacity of Starlink, Starlink Business delivers faster internet speeds and higher throughput,” the company says on its website. “$500/month with a 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 on delivering internet to RVs only when they are Stationary.
For those hoping to have internet access rolled out directly to their cars, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter last year that it probably won’t be. saying “Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, because our terminal is way too big. It’s for planes, 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 closely monitor which companies are allowed to use which frequencies so the signals don’t interfere with each other.

Companies such as ViaSat, Dish Network and wireless company RS Access filed a petition against the FCC’s decision.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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