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SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Broadband Is Coming to Boats, and It's Expensive

Elon Musk's space tech company is expanding its satellite internet technology beyond homes and RVs.

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Ian Sherr Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
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SpaceX has been steadily expanding its reach beyond rockets and spaceships to internet connectivity as well.

Sarah Tew/CNET

When you dream of owning a boat, it's easy to get swept up in the majesty of sailing the open waters. What's been less clear is how you'll upload TikToks and Instagram pics to make all your friends jealous -- until now.

SpaceX, the company helmed by Elon Musk, announced a new effort Thursday called Starlink Maritime. As the name suggests, it's a version of the company's well-regarded Starlink satellite internet service, now for boats. SpaceX said the technology will offer high-speed, low-latency internet of up to 350 Mbps download, which is better than many broadband internet connections on land

The service will cost $10,000 upfront for the hardware, and then pay-as-you-go at $5,000 per month. That may seem steep, but if you own a boat it's probably a steal. Which is probably why Musk, the world's richest person, was so excited to announce it.

Locating local internet providers

"Starlink for boats!" he tweeted.

SpaceX's move into boating connectivity marks the latest expansion for Musk's high-profile spacefaring venture. The company's already made a name for itself through regular test flights that go viral on YouTube, as well as its deals to bring cargo and NASA astronauts to orbit.

Locating local internet providers

With Starlink, SpaceX expanded into internet service, initially offering a home setup starting at $600 for hardware and setup fees, then charging $99 per month for service. Starlink also began offering internet for RVs earlier this year

Starlink Maritime builds off that work, but will only be available to people in areas directly off the coasts of the US, Mexico Europe, parts of South America, Australia and the South Pacific. By later this year, Starlink said it plans to offer service in a longitudinal band encompassing most of North America, Central Europe and North Africa, as well as the southern half of South America. It expects to cover the rest of the seas by sometime in early 2023.

Musk tweeted last year that the company had shipped 100,000 Starlink receiver terminals to customers. The service, which has been available since fall 2020, relies on a constellation of more than 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit.