U.S. Authorizes Starlink to Expand Offerings to Moving Vehicles

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday authorized SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet network with moving vehicles. The company has been looking to expand its offerings to commercial airlines, shipping vessels and trucks.

Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of internet-beaming satellites in orbit, has been trying to expand its customer base from individual users in rural, internet poor locations to corporate customers in the shipping, automotive and airline industries.

The FCC said in its authorization published on Thursday: “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.”

Since 2019, SpaceX has launched about 2,700 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit and has amassed more than 400,000 users according to latest figures.

The company has focused in recent years to strike deals with airlines for in flight WiFi. It made its first such deals with Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private jet service JSX.

SpaceX has tested its aircraft tailored Starlink terminals on Gulfstream jets and U.S. military aircraft, under an earlier experimental FCC license.

Company CEO and founder Musk has previously said Starlink’s main targets would be aircrafts, ships, large trucks and RVs. Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, said connecting Tesla cars to Starlink is not currently feasible as the terminal is too big.

Competition in the low-Earth orbiting satellite internet sector is fierce between SpaceX, satellite operator OneWeb, and Kuiper project, a unit of e-commerce giant Amazon, which is planning to launch the first prototype satellites of its own broadband network later this year.

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