Starlink has launched a ruggedized version of its dish for boats, ships and yachts, merely a few days after the FCC gave it permission to provide internet service to vehicles. The satellite internet provider says Starlink Maritime can deliver up to 350 Mbps download speeds while at sea, which isn’t bad at all for boats that didn’t have an internet connection to begin with. However, it doesn’t come cheap: The hardware alone will set customers back $10,000, which they have to pay for up front.
The service itself costs $5,000 a month, though like Starlink for RVs, customers can pause it when it’s not in use. They can choose which billing cycle to begin their pause, but they’ll still have to pay for the full month whenever they switch the service on. In comparison, the residential Starlink setup’s hardware costs only $599, while the service costs $110 a month.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk explained on Twitter that Starlink Maritime’s antenna differ from their residential counterpart. They’re “dual, high performance terminals,” he said, and have the power to maintain connection in choppy seas and heavy storms. The terminals were also designed to be able to withstand “relentless salt spray [and] extreme winds [and] storms.” Musk said SpaceX has been paying $150,000 a month for “a much worse connection” on its ships.
The Starlink Maritime page also mentions that the service allows you to connect from the most remote waters across the world, but it’s worth noting that its coverage area is still limited. At the moment, it will only work in the coastal waters of the USA (not including Alaska), Europe (except most of Norway, Sweden and Finland), Australia, Brazil, Chile, most of the southern part of Australia and New Zealand. Starlink is expected to roll out connectivity to more locations in the fourth quarter of 2022 and next year.
SpaceX has long had plans to connect moving vehicles to the Starlink network and even previewed a ruggedized dish for boats and planes way back in 2021. It’s only just a few days ago, though, when the Federal Communications Commission authorized a new class of terminals for the satellite internet service “to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity on the move.”
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