How SpaceX’s Starlink Maritime launch will affect cruise lines and satellite providers (op-ed)

Connection and WiFi onboard cruise ships have been notoriously slow since its inception. Similar to airplanes, cruise ships traditionally use gyroscopic satellites that must recalibrate the signal with each movement. A ship must also have a direct “line of sight” to a satellite in order to exchange data, which is not always the case. Due to the height of the surrounding mountains, cruise ships passing through the famous Norwegian fjords, for example, may experience a loss of satellite signal. This leaves a crowd of angry passengers.

Now Elon Musk SpaceX announced the availability of its Starlink service for maritime vessels. This follows the launch of thousands of SpaceX satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), promising incredibly low latency IP networks with download speeds of up to 350 Mbps. Although many Stellar Link customers also reside in cities and other well-connected areas, the company’s primary focus is to connect communities that currently lack internet access or have inadequate connectivity.

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