The United Kingdom government is reportedly in discussions with SpaceX officials to bring Starlink broadband internet to rural regions under the country’s ‘Project Gigabit’ program, which aims to connect communities living in areas where internet communication is unreliable. The $6.9 billion program will partner with different companies to help provide internet service across the nation in an effort to close the digital divide. Around 510,000 households and businesses in the country are set to become the first to benefit from Project Gigabit.
United Kingdom’s Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman, talked to several telecommunication companies leaders, including SpaceX representatives for a potential partnership under the program, according to CNBC. United Kingdom may select SpaceX Starlink to provide internet in rural regions because its satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of providing service to hard-to-reach areas. SkyNews reports that United Kingdom’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says SpaceX offers the best option with its Starlink infrastructure to deliver broadband service to rural regions in the nation. The Starlink constellation will have over 12,000 internet-beaming satellites providing high-speed internet globally. To date, the company operates approximately 1,385 satellites in space which are already providing service to some areas in U.K. SpaceX is currently providing service to a limited amount of customers under Starlink beta service, as more satellites are launched to orbit this year more will be able to join the network. The company is accepting pre-orders worldwide via Starlink.com.
If U.K. officials select SpaceX as Project Gigabit internet provider, it would serve regions such as: Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley. British officials state that by the end of 2021 they expect Starlink to provide broadband coverage throughout the country with high-speed connection of 200 Mbps (megabits per second). The Telegraph reported this week that SpaceX also signed a deal with Arqiva, a British telecommunications company, to build Starlink Gateway ground stations needed to connect satellites to internet data centers.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.