Travellers on the high seas will soon be able to access high speed, low latency internet by subscribing to a maritime satellite broadband service from Elon Musk’s Starlink venture.
Starlink Maritime hopes to tempt owners and operators of pleasure yachts, cruise ships, and other vessels with ruggedised hardware that can withstand extreme cold, heat, hail, sleet, heavy rain, and gale force winds and headline speeds of 350Mbps.
The company promises the dishes take up ‘minimal’ deck space and are easy to install, ensuring they won’t get in the way of key equipment, or sunbathing passengers.
High seas connectivity
The hardware costs $10,000 and a subscription is $5,000 a month, which isn’t cheap. However for billionaire yacht owners this is a drop in the ocean they’re sailing on.
In any case, subscriptions can be paused at any time so that customers aren’t charged if they’re spending an extended time on land.
The service is powered by SpaceX’s constellation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, with coverage limited to the coastal waters of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe at present, but Starlink has pledged to expand its reach later this year.
Conventional satellite-based connectivity systems have been held back by slow speeds, low capacity, and high capacity, meaning they have been useful only as a last resort.
But recent advances in the field mean the technology is even seen as a viable alternative to fixed connectivity on land, such as a rural areas where it is impractical or not economically viable to deploy full fibre.
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