Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet venture has secured a license to construct a satellite ground station on the Isle of Man, which will provide “blanket coverage” across Great Britain, the Telegraph reports.
Starlink, part of of Musk’s SpaceX, has filed an application with the communications regulator for the Isle of Man to improve its broadband coverage for rural areas in northern Britain that cannot be reached by fiber broadband or 5G internet, the newspaper reported.
By transmitting from a station on the island, which is west off the coast of northern Britain, Starlink can capitalize on the island’s less crowded airwaves so their signal can reach these rural broadband holes, the Telegraph said.
Starlink already has established satellite bases in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall. With the three ground stations and its network of satellites in orbit, the company is expected to beam down full broadband coverage for all of the UK, it said.
The internet service would compete with other British broadband companies in Britain, particularly the UK government-owned OneWeb, which also works with a low Earth orbit satellite network.
SpaceX is looking to provide Starlink satellite internet globally by this September and connecting in-flight internet service. The company has been working on launching 42,000 Starlink satellites into orbit by 2027 to support its global broadband signal.
Global coverage of Starlink’s service could allow more and more rural and underserved communities to get fast broadband.
Starlink launched a UK limited test service earlier this year, charging £89 ($123) a month, plus £439 ($610) for a satellite dish, according to the Telegraph. More than 500,000 people have placed an order for Starlink internet, Musk said in May.
Ofcom, the UK’s communication regulator, said last week it is updating the terms and process for obtaining licenses for low-orbit satellites, like the ones Starlink uses, and were halting any current or new applications. However, the regulators said they were in the final stages of issuing one license that was developed with their proposed guideline. Ofcom did not comment on who filed the application.
Starlink could not be reached by the time of publication.
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