The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given a nod to Elon Musk’s SpaceX to provide Starlink satellite internet to vehicles in motion — including commercial airlines, shipping vessels, and trucks. This big win for the Starlink system will pave the way for a new class of user terminals that can connect to broadband-beaming satellites while on the move.
SpaceX asked FCC for regulatory approval to allow Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) Starlink terminals to be used in moving vehicles. The internet provided sought for approval to fly 2,824 satellites at a lower orbit as part of the plan.
In authorization published Thursday, FCC said “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.”
Kepler Communications also received the approval along with SpaceX, however, the FCC has denied a petition from Dish Network that sought to prevent the companies from using frequency in the 12GHz band.
As per reports, the government body will continue to conduct analysis as it moves forward with rulemaking on the presence of ESIM devices in the 12GHz band and said Kepler and SpaceX will be subject to any future rules it sets. The FCC says that approving the new capability is in the public’s interest.
Starlink is a fast-growing constellation of internet-beaming satellites in orbit designed to deliver high-speed internet even in remote places or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.
Presently, Starlink has more than 2,400 satellites in orbit. Following the beta testing that ended in 2021, the company recently said that it had 400,000 users.