Royal Caribbean to provide Internet service from SpaceX

Rollout will begin immediately at all three brands operated by the company: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, with installation expected to be completed by early 2023, according to a press release. Royal Caribbean (RCL) She said the decision comes after she hired a pilot on one of her Freedom of the Seas ships and “received tremendous positive feedback from guests and crew members.”
The company also participated in Twitter ad To display Starlink terminals, the small dishes required to establish communication with the satellites orbiting SpaceX, which line the fender of one of its cruise decks.

“It will improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities such as video streaming as well as activities such as video calling,” Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty said in a statement.

This also marks SpaceX subsidiary Starlink’s first cruise partnership, which comes on the heels of a similar announced partnership with Hawaiian Airlines and a recent announcement that SpaceX will roll out a new service—using yet to be launched satellites—to expand T-mobile wireless service across regions. dead.
Numerous online reviews indicate that Royal Caribbean’s current internet offerings – which the company has said for years is the “fastest internet in the sea” – are indeed very fast, though not as fast as most home internet connections. It is not yet clear how or if the speed or quality of service will change after Royal Caribbean rolls out Starlink, but Liberty said in a statement that it believed it would be “game changing.”
Deals like the one that SpaceX signed with Royal Caribbean began to emerge after the US Federal Communications Commission granted permission for SpaceX in July to expand its services to planes, ships, cars, recreational vehicles and other portable vehicles. Prior to that, SpaceX was only allowed to provide the service to individual homes or businesses on Earth.

The company said earlier this year that it has more than 400,000 subscribers worldwide. Residential services come to $110 per month with a one-time hardware cost of $600.

Its offshore business service is pricier at $5,000 per month with a one-time hardware cost of $10,000 for two terminals, according to its website. It is not clear if this announced price is in line with the financial terms of its deal with Royal Caribbean. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Traditionally, airlines and cruise ships have relied on satellites in the far reaches of Earth’s orbit—a place called geosynchronous orbit, where objects rotate at the same speed as Earth, allowing a single satellite to cover a particular area with communication. The problem is that the satellites are so far away, these services have high latency, which translates into frustrating delays.

SpaceX’s service is different, as it relies on thousands of satellites orbiting near the Earth that all work in tandem to send internet back to Earth. Ultimately, SpaceX hopes to cover the entire planet by communicating using up to 30,000 satellites. Nearly 3,000 are already working in orbit.

But Royal Caribbean International relied on a different internet service where the satellites are in orbits closer to Earth than geosynchronous satellites but still higher than SpaceX. The previous deal was with a company called O3b, a competitor to Starlink that began launching its own satellites in 2013. (O3b has since been acquired by geosynchronous satellite operator SES.)

“Royal Caribbean International remains a customer of ours, and we look forward to continuing to grow and develop our partnership in the years to come,” SES told CNN Business by email, adding that their contract with Royal Caribbean was never exclusive and “the competition is good as it drives the industry to develop experiences innovative.”

SpaceX has so far earned its fans and critics. While many have praised the expansion of high-speed connectivity, the sheer number of satellites needed to run the service has raised concerns about the impact on astronomy and debris in outer space.


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