Starlink launches a satellite Internet access offer for the ultra-rich

Starlink launches a satellite Internet access offer for the ultra-rich

Elon Musk’s firm unveils Starlink Maritime, a new overpriced offer for ordinary mortals, intended in particular for owners of luxury yachts.

This is clearly not Mr. Everybody’s Internet access. Discreetly, Starlink has just unveiled a new offer allowing access to the Internet… at sea. “high-end yachts” and therefore displays a price that goes with it.

Judge for yourself: to access a speed of “ up to 350 Mbps ” and ” low latency (which, in the middle of the Atlantic, is fine, let’s face it), you have to pay no less than $5,000 a month, after paying $10,000 in hardware costs, not including taxes and shipping costs.

Screenshot, Starlink

Not given. Why such an exorbitant price compared to the offer for motorhomes launched a few weeks ago (124 euros per month) and which uses more or less the same equipment? Elon Musk justified himself on Twitter a few hours ago.

He explains that Starlink Maritime uses “two high-performance terminals, which is important to maintain the connection in rough seas and during heavy storms”. Antennas that have been hardened to withstand the onslaught of seawater and in particular salt. The motorhome offer only uses one terminal, which is not designed to be used on the move.

Remains the price of the subscription, extremely high. Again, Musk has the answer. ” This is obviously a premium price, but our service is faster and cheaper than the competition. SpaceX was paying $150,000 a month for a much lower connection on its ships! “.

He is referring here to his barges which receive SpaceX rockets, whose landings are filmed live and broadcast via the Internet.

Internet at sea is necessarily expensive

Musk is not wrong: Satellite Internet in the middle of the ocean is either very expensive or very slow indeed. There are many dozens of companies (Iridium, Inmarsat, etc.) that offer less expensive equipment than that of SpaceX, but which offer just enough speeds to check your emails.

Conversely, to enjoy Netflix on your yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean, you have to pay much, much more. For example, the KVH company offers an offer called “Elite” (the PDF offer for the curious or the lucky), which promises ” HD streaming from your cabin. But it costs $7,000 for a month, with a speed of “only” 40 Mbit/s maximum.

Moreover, SpaceX does not only reserve this offer for billionaires who travel the world aboard their oversized boats. Starlink Maritime is also interested in the business market, and could also appeal to operators of merchant vessels or oil rigs. The company has therefore implemented tools to manage the fleet of Starlink terminals remotely. She provides a end-to-end encryption to protect sensitive data from prying eyes.

Starlink Maritime, coverage
Starlink Maritime coverage. Credit: Starlink

Starlink Maritime already covers the European, American, part of Australia and South American coasts as well as the Mediterranean. But the service will quickly be extended to the Atlantic and the North Pacific at the end of the year… Then to all the seas of the globe at the beginning of 2023.

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