SpaceX will now be able to offer Starlink satellite internet to vehicles on the move, following US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval.
The move, initially reported by CNBC, should be a huge win for the Elon Musk-led company.
It could also be great news for consumers, who may soon have constant high-speed Internet access, whether they're “driving an RV across the country, moving a cargo ship from Europe to a US port.” in the words of Tom Sullivan, Head of the FCC International Office.
How does it work?
Starlink, launched in 2019, provides satellite Internet access to 36 countries through a network of low-orbiting satellites.
Although the company's service isn't as fast as conventional broadband, the latest tests show the gap is closing, with Starlink's average download speeds reaching 90,55 Mbps in the US.
SpaceX already has new activities scheduled after the last authorization. According to information from CNBC, the company has already signed agreements with Hawaiian Airlines and the semi-private charter company JSX.
Starlink was also doing well regardless of the latest win; SpaceX says it has already launched 2.700 satellites into space and registered 400.000 subscribers to its service.
However, the FCC's decision is not without reservations. Starlink agreed to "accept any interference received from current and future licensed services," and that any further investment in the company "will bear the risk that operations may be subject to additional conditions or requirements."
Although satellite broadband should democratize access to connectivity, Starlink's network is not immune to interruptions.
For example, a geomagnetic storm caused by solar activity destroyed 40 of SpaceX's Starlink satellites earlier this year, underscoring the risk posed by solar storms as we continue to saturate low Earth orbit.
The current geopolitical situation could also cause problems for the satellite network. SpaceX boss Elon Musk has warned the Ukrainian government and its people that using its dishes to stay connected to the internet could make it a major target for Russian missile strikes.
Via CNBC(Opens in a new tab)