SpaceX’s Starlink can start serving internet users in Canada.
On Friday, Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development agency (ISED) granted the necessary spectrum for SpaceX’s Starlink network, a next-generation satellite internet service.
The approval clears the way for Starlink to begin beaming high-speed broadband to customers in rural and remote communities in Canada, according to a spokesperson for Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“Our government recognizes that high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury — it is essential. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we all rely on digital connections. Now more than ever, Canadians are working, learning and communicating with friends and family from home,” the spokesperson said in an email.
SpaceX recently kicked off the public beta for Starlink in the northern US, and already early users have been receiving internet speeds at over 100 Mbps. Now the company can begin expanding the trials to southern Canada, which is in line with SpaceX’s originally stated goals for 2020.
However, the initial Starlink service in Canada may be pretty small scale. According to SpaceQ.ca, the company still needs to secure regulatory approval to establish ground stations in Canada, which will be connected to optical fiber networks. The same stations can then beam the internet data to the Starlink satellites as they orbit through the sky and communicate to users back on the ground.
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As a result, SpaceX is looking at first bringing the public beta to Canadian users that live near the US border. In the US, SpaceX has already secured approval to operate ground stations in several states.