SpaceX: Starlink Maritime is available for yachts, commercial ships and oil rigs

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced a new Starlink broadband service for all types of ships, from merchant ships to oil rigs and luxury yachts.

Called Starlink Maritime, this broadband satellite service promises “a high-speed, low-latency internet connection with a download speed of up to 350 Mb/s at sea”.

“Starlink Maritime allows you to connect from some of the most remote waters in the world,” it announced Elon Musk on Twitter.

More expensive than a motorhome…

Starlink Maritime is much more expensive than the recently launched Starlink for motorhomes, which costs 634 euros for the equipment and 124 euros per month for the service. And the operation of the service is only guaranteed when the vehicle is stationary.

According to TechCrunch, Starlink Maritime’s hardware consists of two terminals and costs $10,000, plus a monthly subscription of $5,000.

Starlink Software Engineer Joseph Scarantino explained on Twitter that Starlink Maritime’s dual antenna configuration quadruples performance to reduce latency and signal loss at sea by creating a wider field of view. Like the standard service, it requires a clear view of the sky.

…but cheaper than a VSAT service

Although the price is high, SpaceX says it is actually much cheaper than traditional VSAT satellite internet service.

The company has released a case study of its own past use of an unnamed VSAT service to connect to the SpaceX “drone ships” it uses to retrieve rockets at sea.

The VSAT service cost SpaceX $165,000 per month for its fleet, while Starlink maritime cost it a flat rate of $5,000 per month. ship per month (presumably for single terminals rather than dual terminals sold), a monthly cost totaling $50,000. SpaceX also claims that the VSAT service only provided symmetrical speeds of 25 Mb/s and latency of 1-2 seconds. SpaceX says each Starlink Maritime installation offered maximum download speeds of 40 Mbps with 50 ms latency.

Available in the US, Australia and Europe

The service is intended for all maritime vessels, from merchant ships to oil platforms. “Starlink Maritime lets you connect from the most distant waters of the world, just as you would in the office or at home,” claims the company. Handy for workers equipped with a private yacht for hybrid work. But not at Tesla, as Elon Musk has told his employees to return to the office and work there at least 40 hours a week… or leave.

Starlink Maritime service subscription can be paused when not needed and restarted when needed. The service is billed in monthly intervals. SpaceX promises that its users will be able to remotely monitor and manage a Starlink fleet from a single portal. The service also offers end-to-end encryption, which is not always the case with VSAT services.

The Starlink Maritime coverage map shows that the service currently covers the coasts of the United States, Australia and Europe. However, SpaceX plans to begin expanding its coverage to the North Atlantic and North Pacific in Q4 2022, followed by the South Pacific and Indian Ocean in Q1 2023.

maritime coverage map

Image: SpaceX.


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