The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet network with moving vehicles, green-lighting the firm’s plans to expand broadband offerings to commercial airlines, shipping vessels, and trucks.
Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of internet-beaming satellites in orbit, has long sought to grow its customer base from individual broadband users in rural, internet-poor locations to enterprise customers in the potentially lucrative automotive, shipping, and airline sectors.
The FCC said in its authorization publication that authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system would expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now need connectivity while on the go.
SpaceX has launched nearly 2,700 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit since 2019 and has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, including many who pay $110 per month for broadband internet using $599 self-install broadband terminal kits.
Based in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX has focused heavily in recent years on courting airlines around Starlink for in-flight WiFi. In recent months, it has inked its first such deals with Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private jet service JSX.
Under an earlier experimental FCC license, SpaceX has tested aircraft-tailored Starlink terminals on Gulfstream jets and US military aircraft.