Empresas Copec, a Chilean energy and forestry company with a chain of gas stations throughout Chile, announced plans to equip 74 gas stations in Chile with SpaceX Starlink to provide free Wi-Fi. Copec already equipped 17 gas stations with Starlink and is working to connect 9 more soon.
The first Starlink antenna was installed at a gas station located in the city of Villa Cerro Castillo which will enable a nearby rural community to have internet access. The company seeks to use Starlink for faster online banking transactions but also aims to help connect nearby communities that do not have internet access at home. The company says that deploying Starlink to gas stations will help expand internet coverage across the countryside. “One of this system’s main advantages is that it can provide a secure and stable connection in rural or remote locations, a decisive factor for us to make this decision in line with our role in Patagonia, which is to accompany people and contribute to local entrepreneurship,” the General Manager of Copec Arturo Natho told Petrol Plaza reporters.
Chile was the first country in South America to have access to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service. The company started to beam internet to remote communities in the Caleta Sierra (Coquimbo Region) and Sotomó (Los Lagos) region in September 2021. SpaceX also partnered with local governments to connect underprivileged schools in rural communities to the internet to enhance the children’s education. SpaceX provided free Starlink for one year and the local government agreed to cover the cost after the pilot program ended. Starlink “high-speed connectivity can have a transformative impact on these communities and we are eager to support these pilot programs, starting with local schools,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell stated in 2021 when Starlink first rolled out in the country, as previously reported by TESMANIAN.
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Featured Image Source: Copec
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
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.