ukraine points the way for the next step in satellite connections

vitali klitschko, mayor of kyiv, and his brother wladimir klitschko with starlink terminals shipped to kyiv during the 2022 russian invasion of ukraine. (photo kyivcity.gov.ua)
kyiv mayor vitali klitschko and his brother, world boxing champion wladimir klitschko, with starlink terminals for work in the capital of ukraine. (vitalii klitschko facebook page)

new tech offers portability, not just mobility.

by rick richardson

in a decision that opens new worlds of connectivity worldwide, the federal communications commission is authorizing elon musk’s spacex and a second commercial satellite company, kepler communications, to employ their satellite internet systems on vehicles in motion, including cars, trucks, boats and aircraft.

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musk made news recently when he repositioned satellites to give coverage to ukraine in its war with russia at no charge.

starlink, part of musk’s low-earth-orbit satellite system, can provide high-speed internet anyplace around the globe. the network has about 3,000 satellites and 400,000 customers. the service starts at $110 monthly with a one-time hardware cost of $599 for a user terminal.

spacex has been very vocal in its desire to expand starlink service beyond residential consumer use for some time. spacex has signed an early deal with hawaiian airlines and one with semiprivate charter provider jsx to provide wi-fi on planes.

spacex has already deployed a version of its satellite service called starlink for rvs for an add-on portability charge. but portability and mobility are not the same things. the new fcc decision gives the green light to portability. it will also apply to ships at sea and even long-haul semi-tractor trailers.

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