Starlink satellite Internet access has already been extended to boats and RVs, and now it could accompany your child on the way home from school. SpaceX told the FCC in a presentation which is piloting Starlink aboard school buses in rural America. The project would keep students connected during long trips (over an hour in the pilot), ensuring they can complete Internet-related homework in a timely manner , even if broadband is slow or non-existent at home.
The spaceflight company simultaneously endorsed FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel’s May bill. proposal to bring WiFi to school buses, and said he supported the regulator’s efforts to fund Internet access in schools and libraries through the E-Rate program. To no one’s surprise, SpaceX felt it had the best solution thanks to the rapid deployment of satellites, portable antennas, and quick service to the “most remote” areas.
We have asked the FCC and SpaceX for comment, and will let you know if they respond. The launch comes just two months after the FCC authorized Starlink for use in vehicles, saying it would serve the “public interest” to keep people online on the go. The concept isn’t new: Google equipped school buses with Wi-Fi in 2018 after testing, for example.
There is no guarantee that the FCC will adopt SpaceX and fund bus-based Starlink service. The Commission rejected SpaceX’s request for $885.5 million in aid through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, and the company responded by blasting the rejection as “grossly unfair” and allegedly without evidence. However, satellite internet service theoretically offers more consistent rural coverage than cellular data, and Starlink’s competitors like Amazon’s Project Kuiper have yet to roll out in earnest.
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