Google and SpaceX team up on Starlink satellite broadband

14 May 2021304 Views

Image: © Yingyaipumi/Stock.adobe.com

An enterprise service combining Google Cloud infrastructure with Starlink’s satellite broadband is expected to launch later this year.

Google Cloud and SpaceX have announced a partnership to deliver data, cloud services and online applications to customers at the network edge.

SpaceX has agreed to locate Starlink ground stations within Google data centre properties. This will pair Starlink’s satellite constellation with Google Cloud high-capacity private network for secure and reliable delivery of internet services.

“Combining Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency broadband with Google’s infrastructure and capabilities provides global organisations with the secure and fast connection that modern organisations expect,” said SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell.

“We are proud to work with Google to deliver this access to businesses, public sector organisations, and many other groups operating around the world,” she added.

With Starlink, SpaceX has set out to deliver high-speed broadband internet via a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit. The end goal could see tens of thousands of these flat-pannelled satellites launched in order to deliver internet access to rural and remote areas as-yet unable to get online via traditional infrastructure.

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Beta-testing of the satellite broadband system is ongoing and SpaceX has reportedly selected the Black Valley in Co Kerry as one of its pilot locations. Meanwhile, campaigners in Knockawaddra, Co Cork are hoping to trial the system in what they describe as a “broadband dead-zone”.

SpaceX has launched 1,500 Starlink satellites to date and more than half a million people have pre-ordered the service since February. It is expected to go live later this year.

As part of the Google Cloud deal, the company will initially deploy ground stations at Google data centres in the US, but is  also expected to expand the partnership internationally, CNBC reports.

The service for enterprise customers is expected to be available in the second half of 2021.

“Applications and services running in the cloud can be transformative for organisations, whether they’re operating in a highly networked or remote environment,” said Urs Hölzle, SVP of infrastructure at Google Cloud.

“We are delighted to partner with SpaceX to ensure that organisations with distributed footprints have seamless, secure and fast access to the critical applications and services they need to keep their teams up and running.”

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com