SpaceX’s Starlink gets US approval to be used on vehicles in motion

1 Jul 2022

Image: © Mike Mareen/

The decision marks a big win for SpaceX as it can now extend its Starlink internet service to a wider range of customers.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given SpaceX authorisation to provide its Starlink satellite internet to vehicles in motion, including cars, trucks, boats and aircraft.

The FCC said there was a public interest in enabling “never before available” services that could help facilitate higher quality broadband services “in the air, on the road and on the water”.

“Authorising a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a US port, or while on a domestic or international flight,” the FCC said in its decision, published yesterday (30 June).

The decision marks a big win for SpaceX as it can extend its Starlink service to a wider range of customers. It currently advertises the service for residential, business and RV users.

Starlink is creating a network of low-orbit satellites that has the potential to bring internet to users anywhere in the world, regardless of local infrastructure. In Ireland, the system has been trialled by residents in rural areas of west Cork and Kerry.

SpaceX has received a series of FCC victories in recent years to push the Starlink project forward. In April 2021, the FCC granted approval to operate almost 3,000 Starlink satellites in lower orbits than originally planned. SpaceX argued that this would grant a much lower latency in signal, cutting down transmission time.

SpaceX has launched around 2,700 satellites so far to support its global network and told the FCC in May that it had more than 400,000 Starlink subscribers, CNBC reported.

But this service comes at a price, which could limit roll-out. For example, it costs RV users $629 upfront for the necessary hardware and $124 a month thereafter.

The Starlink network has also been previously criticised by astronomers for its impact on their ability to conduct research. In April 2021, the International Astronomical Union asked the United Nations to take action on the issue.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic