SpaceX would like to provide its broadband internet via satellite called Starlink also for mobile use. The operator has applied for approval from the US regulatory authority FCC to equip large vehicles with broadband Internet receiving stations. The application shows that so-called “Earth Stations in Motion” (ESIMs) are to be offered for automobiles, ships and aircraft.
The application covers the entire United States and its territories, international waters around the world, and aircraft registered in the USA around the world. Cars are out of the question because the stations are too big, SpaceX boss Elon Musk reported on Twitter. So he expressly does not intend to connect all Teslas to Starlink.
Bowl for the car roof
In the reason for the request the company states that it is in the public interest to approve the new type of receiving device. The device is by and large similar to the Starlink satellite dishes developed for domestic use. The ESIMs will transmit in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band and receive in the 10.7-12.7 GHz band, and they will follow spectrum sharing rules to avoid interference with other frequency users says SpaceX.
Starlink has been in public beta testing for four months and has more than 10,000 users in the US and beyond. The individual users would receive at least 100 Mbit / s downstream and 20 Mbit / s upstream, 95 percent of them with a latency of 31 milliseconds or less. This service is “neither theoretical nor experimental” and will be expanded further.
Laser links for worldwide use
So far, Starlink has only sold receivers for stationary use. They are only approved for operation in cooperation with certain ground stations and can therefore not be operated at any location. Mobile devices would have to work in much larger areas or even everywhere. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Starlink was calling for higher prices.
About six weeks ago, Starlink installed the first satellites with laser links. They orbit in a low, sun-synchronous orbit. In sufficient numbers, they would allow global Starlink use away from ground stations, including on the high seas. But for now the FCC has only approved ten such satellites. This is to prove whether the radio interference claimed by (potential) competitors really exists.