SpaceX’s Starlink satellite system will soon be open to a diverse range of customers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted the company permission to use the satellite internet system on vehicles in motion.
In March 2021, SpaceX asked for approval from the FCC to use Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) Starlink terminals in vehicles in motion.
SpaceX gets FCC green light
To receive broadband internet coverage, customers need to buy a ground-based antenna, or user terminal, which will connect to the Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth. Until now, these dishes had to be fixed in one location to access the system.
The FCC has not only granted SpaceX permission but another satellite company, Kepler Communications, was also given the greenlight. This will pave the path for a new category of user terminals that can connect to satellites while in motion.
The communications watchdog denied a petition from Dish Network that asked the FCC to prevent these companies from using frequency in the 12GHz band. But it will conduct a thorough analysis while approving the presence of ESIM devices in the 12GHz band. The commission said that Kepler and SpaceX will be subject to whatever set of rules it puts in place.
According to the FCC, the approval has been done in the public’s best interest. The commission added that authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will enhance the range of broadband capabilities. This will also help meet user demand of requiring connectivity while in motion.
With Starlink, SpaceX’s goal is to launch thousands of LEO satellites to provide low-latency broadband coverage to Earth. Currently, there are more than 2,400 satellites in orbit. The company has also boasted that 400,000 people were using its services.
If you want to order Starlink, you need to purchase a kit with a user terminal ($599) and pay a monthly fee of $110. However, the company aims to expand its userbase to airlines and has deals in place with private jet service JSX and Hawaiian Airlines.