FCC clears SpaceX to integrate Starlink satellite WiFi in vehicles

FCC clears SpaceX to integrate Starlink satellite WiFi in vehicles
Image Credits: Ars Technica

The Federal Communications Commission has cleared SpaceX to add Starlink WiFi service to vehicles this Thursday, an upgrade from its Starlink home internet, which left beta last October.

In its authorization letter, the FCC wrote: “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.”

The license means that all United States Starlink users will now be able to legally receive internet service from their Starlink user terminals on any land, sea, or air-based vehicle while in motion.

Major airlines and cruise providers, as well as American users, will be using Starlink to improve internet connectivity aboard private aircraft, boats, and recreational vehicles. To this effect, SpaceX has already signed agreements with flight charter provider JSX and Hawaiian Airlines, as well as cruise provider Royal Caribbean, to begin testing the service on at least one active cruise ship.

For vehicles traveling outside the range of SpaceX’s ground stations, Starlink V1.5 satellites will need to create their own space-based network with onboard laser links, allowing communications to be routed through other satellites to ground stations located hundreds of miles away. This requires another license application to the FCC.

SpaceX currently has more than 2400 working Starlink satellites in orbit, almost 2000 of which are operational and actively serving around half a million existing customers. 

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