The next time you go on a cruise, you can enjoy high-speed Wi-Fi provided by Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by Elon Musk and SpaceX.
The Royal Caribbean cruise line presented a submission to the US Federal Communications Commission (opens in new tab) (FCC) requesting that Starlink be approved for use in moving vehicles (via PC Mag (opens in new tab)).
In the document, the company’s vice president, John Maya, says that “working with Space X Services Inc., we believe we have identified a true next generation solution for our vessels”.
Starlink is currently available in over 20 countries, including parts of the US, UK and Australia. More recently, the service added Ukraine to the regions it supports in an effort to keep citizens of the war-torn country online.
Review: Traveling through Starlink
You’ll find plenty of complaints online about the Starlink internet if you look around, from astronomers worried about the disruption it could bring to the night sky to those who just aren’t fans of the company’s controversial CEO.
But the main problem users have is that the service’s signal is very easy to block – so easy in fact, that some have reported that a single tree (opens in new tab) that’s all that stands between them and Musk’s Wi-Fi satellite access.
Out on the open seas, however, trees and other potential signal jammers wouldn’t be an issue — and Starlink could allow Royal Caribbean to offer significantly improved internet service to its passengers.
Currently, Royal Caribbean uses an internet service called Voom. We couldn’t find official details of its speed, but users generally report download speeds of no more than 5 Mbps (via HighSeasCrusing (opens in new tab)).
By comparison, while Starlink’s Residential service promises to offer speeds of up to 150Mbps, Royal Caribbean would likely use Starlink Business, the company’s commercial arm, which promises speeds between 150Mbps and 500Mbps; and considering that this connection would have to be shared by an entire ship, he might be looking for higher or even faster speeds.
If the FFC approves Royal Caribbean’s order, and the launch of Starlink service for its ships is a success, such collaborations may not stop at cruise ships – we could see Starlink being used on trains and even planes.
And who knows – you might even get Starlink to stream directly to your Tesla car.