Now Loading on the High Seas: High Speed Internet from SpaceX
Deep Water Streaming
Royal Caribbean (RCL) is bringing SpaceX’s Starlink internet service to its fleet of ships. The cruise line, which also operates Silversea Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, says the service will officially launch this Monday. Over the summer, it was tested out with a trial program which seems to have been a success.
It’s not clear how much bandwidth will be available to a given ship’s thousands of passengers, or how many Starlink dishes ships will have. Royal Caribbean does say the service will be able to accommodate the use of streaming services as well as video calls. It expects to have all of its ships outfitted with Starlink by early 2023.
Not So Smooth Sailing
Much like airlines, and other travel-related businesses, the cruise industry got hammered by the pandemic and has yet to fully recover. Staffing shortages have led to canceled trips. Spending on luxury items, such as cruises, is also under pressure amid this year’s record inflation. At the same time, the Federal Reserve remains committed to slowing the rise of prices, even if it means some businesses struggle.
Executives at Royal Caribbean undoubtedly hope adding Starlink will make their product more attractive and lead to more sales. Starlink Maritime, SpaceX’s boat-focused internet service, is brand new and just debuted this summer. The company says most of the world’s oceans will be covered within the upcoming year’s first quarter.
Starlink Stays Busy
In addition to its ocean-wide expansion, Starlink is involved in a number of deals and partnerships across the globe. The company plans to launch second-generation satellites next year which it will use to beam texts and calls to cell phones for T-Mobile (TMUS). Hawaiian Airlines (HA) is working with SpaceX toward providing in-flight WiFi, something Delta (DAL) is also reportedly interested in.
If sailing the ocean blue or sunny skies aren’t your preferred method of travel, SpaceX still has you covered. It just launched a Starlink version that caters to RVs. As scores of Americans look to take trips post-pandemic, SpaceX is focused on making sure they have internet.
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