Little by little and as Starlink deploys its constellation of satellites, the satellite internet is reaching rural areas. With amazing bandwidth and thanks to Starlink antennas, the Starlink beta program is proving its capabilities. Now he wants to go a step further, he seeks to connect vehicles such as cars, boats or planes by satellite.
According to Ars Technica, SpaceX has filed a petition with US regulators to place its antennas on vehicles as well. Now it will be up to the Federal Communications Commission of the United States to decide whether Starlink can place its terminals in “Ground Stations in Motion“.
With “Earth Stations in Motion” it is generally referred to as cars, trucks, planes or ships for example. In general vehicles that can have a portable communications antenna. Essentially allowing a ship on the high seas to have broadband at 175 Mbps, or a truck crossing the country in the middle of a rural area for example.
The Starlink network in cars, boats or planes
That SpaceX seeks to expand its Starlink network to vehicles as well and not limit itself to homes should not be surprising. The important point here to keep in mind is what the Starlink receiver will look like in a vehicle, which will of course differ from the antennas that Starlink currently places on rooftops.
Currently Starlink offers an installation kit that comes with the antenna and the modem among other things for each user to install the antenna. It is a relatively simple process, although not the most ideal to place in a car for example. Instead SpaceX reflects that vehicle antennas “are electrically identical to previously authorized consumer user terminals, but have mounts that allow them to be installed in vehicles, boats and aircraft.”
More than just an installation kit, we will most likely see Starlink antennas factory integrated on some vehicles or installed by a qualified technical team on others. The rest is to conceal the plate enough to integrate it into the design of a vehicle.
The million dollar question: when will satellite internet broadband at the Tesla? In a call with investors last year, Elon Musk responded to a question that addressed exactly that. He said “it’s definitely something that can happen in the next few years.”
As this unfolds, Starlink continues to unfold across the world. Recently SpaceX opened the beta in Spain as well. With some 1,000 satellites already in orbit, the service has the capacity to operate decently, although still far from the dozen of thousands of satellites they want to place at a minimum.