The move helps the company expand its customer base, which has so far focused on providing around $100 per month internet service to families, mostly in underserved areas. by traditional terrestrial internet service. It has hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the world.
The regulatory approval, issued from the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday, also grants SpaceX the ability to expand its services to trains, ships and other vehicles, opening up a vast amount of space. potential business customers. The company has also advertised its service to RV drivers.
Airlines, ships, and trains have traditionally relied on satellites in geosynchronous orbit, a range of orbits more than 22,000 miles away, provided by companies like ViaSat. SpaceX’s Starlink takes a different approach to transmitting internet from space by placing thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit or just a few hundred miles above the ground. The company says this brings lower latency or latency to its service.
It’s unclear how Starlink’s mobile services might be priced, but SpaceX has been marketing its services directly to businesses.
The FCC decision also marks another chapter in the ongoing battle for spectrum rights. Spectrum refers to a wide range of radio frequencies, and federal regulators closely guard which companies are allowed to use which frequencies so that signals do not interfere with each other.
Companies including ViaSat, Dish Network and wireless company RS Access have petitioned against the FCC’s decision.
SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment for this story.