Elon Musk’s other company (or at least, the one that’s getting the most headlines lately), SpaceX, wants to spread its Starlink internet to more places. Specifically, to vehicles, ships and planes right here on Earth. Fan blog Tesmanian first published a Federal Communications Commission filing request from SpaceX last Thursday asking the government agency to provide it “a blanket license authorizing operation.”
If granted, SpaceX would have the authority to beam Starlink internet service to all sorts of transportation methods in the US. The company said in its filing this would serve public interest since it would authorize “a new class of ground-based components for SpaceX’s satellite system that will expand the range of broadband capabilities available to moving vehicles throughout the United States and to moving vessels and aircraft worldwide.” Further, the company said it would expand the company’s goal of bringing broadband to underserved and unserved areas. SpaceX argued consumers are no longer willing to “forgo connectivity while on the move, whether driving a truck across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a US port, or while on a domestic or international flight.”
While Starlink internet currently operates via an invite-only beta in rural communities with provided antennas and routers, those operating vehicles would need a similarly designed unit that “qualified installers” would handle. They may sit on the masts of ships, the roofs of semi trucks or somewhere on passenger cars and boats. The company didn’t provide any further details in the filing.
However, it doesn’t sound like passenger cars would be at the front of the line. Musk said in a Monday tweet the company would not start connecting Starlink to Tesla vehicles because “our terminal is much too big.” We’ll have to wait and see what becomes of the 10,000-strong satellite system next.
Up close with Starlink, where toy spaceships snap to life