Starlink FCC application reveal plans for satellite internet in moving vehicles

The idea of Teslas being connected to the internet through Starlink may soon before a reality, with SpaceX recently filing an application to the FCC to expand the satellite service to “moving vehicles, vessels, and aircraft.” The application comes not long after Musk gave the nod on Twitter for a Starlink “Mini,” which could provide internet connectivity on the go.

In its FCC application, SpaceX aimed to acquire a blanket license authorizing the operation of end-user earth stations for deployment dubbed as Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations (“VMESs”), Earth Stations on Vessels (“ESVs”), and Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (“ESAAs”). Collectively called Earth Stations in Motion (“ESIMs”), these stations would have the capability to bring internet connectivity to moving vehicles like cars, ships, or even aircraft.

“SpaceX Services seeks authority to deploy and operate these earth stations (1) as VMES throughout the United States and its territories, (2) as ESVs in the territorial waters of the United States and throughout international waters worldwide, and (3) as ESAAs on U.S.-registered aircraft operating worldwide and non-U.S.-registered aircraft operating in U.S. airspace,” SpaceX noted.

Elaborating further, SpaceX noted that Starlink ESIMs could be invaluable considering that internet users today are increasingly becoming unwilling to forego web connectivity while traveling. SpaceX stated that ultimately, the idea of Starlink being used for moving vehicles is a logical extension of the satellite internet system’s core services.

“No longer are users willing to forego connectivity while on the move, whether driving a truck across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port or while on a domestic or international flight. To help meet this demand, SpaceX has deployed an innovative, cost-effective, and spectrum-efficient satellite system capable of delivering robust broadband service to customers around the world, particularly in unserved and underserved areas.

“SpaceX has already secured U.S. authority for the space station components of its NGSO system. This application takes the next step by seeking authority for ESIMs that will enable the extension of that network from homes and offices to vehicles, vessels, and aircraft. Operation under the requested blanket license will promote competition in the market for in-motion broadband services, to the benefit of drivers, ship operators, and air travelers in the United States and abroad.”

Starlink’s ESIMs would benefit numerous entities, one of which would be Tesla, Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and energy company. Tesla’s electric cars are connected to the internet for features like video streaming and over-the-air updates, with the company even offering a “Premium Connectivity” service as an option today. With Starlink’s capability to connect to the internet in a moving vehicle, Tesla would no longer have to rely on existing mobile internet providers for its cars.

Starlink’s application to provide internet access to moving vehicles could be accessed below.

Starlink-ESIMs by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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