Cruise ships have generally gotten a bad rap for offering travelers Slow and expensive wifi. But one cruise line is hoping to change that by bringing SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet on board.
Royal Caribbean, one of the largest cruise operators in the world, announced last week that it would roll out the SpaceX network across its fleet of passenger ships. This makes it the first cruise operator to sign an internet deal with Elon Muskof the rocket and spacecraft company. Royal Caribbean plans to begin installing the Starlink infrastructure immediately and hopes to complete the project by spring 2023, according to a declaration.
The cruise company’s decision comes on the heels of a Starlink trial on one of its largest ships, Freedom of the seas, which has received “extremely positive feedback from guests and crew,” according to the statement. In June, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave SpaceX the green light to supply Starlink to moving vehiclesincluding semi-trailers, RVs, airplanes and freighters, which paved the way for the company to offer Wi-Fi on cruises.
Many cruise lines already use space Wi-Fi, but the satellites in those networks are located much further from Earth than SpaceX’s. By entering their Starlink constellation in low-Earth orbit, SpaceX aims to provide faster internet by decreasing the distance information has to travel to reach the ground.
Since May 2019, SpaceX has created an interconnected network of more than 2,500 satellites. Its leaders say they hope to do so build the array at 42,000 satellites and provide worldwide Internet. Starlink wants “[rebuild] Internet in space,” Musk said when announcing plans for the new service in 2015, as reported by space. com‘S Peter B. of Selling. In May, Starlink had 400,000 subscribers in 36 countrieswith expansion plans.
But the ambitious project was not without setbacks: in February, for example, a solar storm knocked 40 satellites out of orbit. And astronomers have complained about reflective satellites block out the night skywhile environmentalists are concerned about the company’s contributions to space debris And climate change.
For now, Royal Caribbean cruise customers will only be able to use Starlink in coastal areas, as the service does not yet operate in mid-ocean, it reports. TechCrunchis Devin Coldewey. Starlink hopes to add mid-ocean service in the Northern Hemisphere by the end of 2022, then expand to the Southern Hemisphere by early next year.
Despite this limitation, the first testers of the service on board Freedom of the seas they were impressed with the offer.
“We tried watching YouTube videos and Netflix shows to see how they would perform,” wrote Nicole Feist in a review for Royal Caribbean blog, an unofficial fan blog that is not affiliated with the cruise line. “Both [Starlink] the packages allowed us to start watching videos immediately, with no delays or buffering times.”
The cruise line hasn’t released any technical details on the wider Starlink rollout, such as how much bandwidth will be shared among thousands of passengers, so it remains to be seen how fast and reliable the service will be for cruise passengers in the future. The limit‘S Mitchell Clark.
by Starlink home internet service starts at $110/month, with additional hardware up front load of $599. Vessels at sea, for comparison, pay $5,000 a month and a one-time hardware fee of $10,000 for two terminals via “Starlink Maritime.” Neither Royal Caribbean nor SpaceX has revealed how much the cruise line is paying for its Starlink service, but photographs released by Royal Caribbean show six terminals installed in a small area on one of the company’s ships’ decks.
In addition to cruise ships, SpaceX has also struck deals to enter the in-flight Wi-Fi business, partnering with Hawaiian Airlines And jsx extension. Also Delta Air Lines tested the service on some of its aircraft, and SpaceX recently announced a collaboration with T-Mobile to connect mobile phones with its network.