SpaceX Starlink will go south for the first time with a planned deployment in Texas


The Starlink logo is placed on a stylized image of the Earth.
Increase / The Starlink logo is placed on a stylized image of the Earth.

SpaceX has agreed to provide services to 45 families in the Texas School District in 2021. At the beginning, and another 90 families – in the school district. announced last week. A report from the Odessa Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) says it will be “the first school district to use SpaceX satellites to provide Internet access to students.”

“Initially, the project will provide a free internet service to 45 families in Pleasant Farms, South Ector County,” the district said. “As the network’s capabilities continue to grow, it will expand to serve another 90 Ector County families.”

The location in Texas is noticeable, as the current limited beta version of Starlink only exists in the northern United States, and SpaceX CEO Elonas Muskas said the upcoming public beta will be limited to the northern U.S. and “hopefully” southern Canada. SpaceX has more than 700 Starlink satellites in orbit and will be able to expand its service range by deploying more almost 12,000 she was allowed to run. In Washington State, Starlink was deployed in a country house, a distant tribes, and ambulances and their families in fire-affected areas.

The ECISD report states that the service will become operational in 2021. At the beginning ”, without specifying when, but an article in the American newspaper Odessa said it would be in January. The total cost of the project is $ 300,000, half of which is provided by the Chiefs for Change, a non-profit group for school district leaders, says the Odessa American. Selected families will receive Internet service for one year for free, the report said.

It is unclear if any of the money goes to SpaceX. The school district has some costs as it plans to “identify families [who will get service] and to facilitate the delivery of the necessary equipment to those homes. “

There is no word yet on other places in the Southern United States

The timing of the wider availability of Starlink in the South American is still unknown. We asked SpaceX if in 2021. Initially, it plans to deploy Starlink in other southern locations and get more information on when the service will be available throughout the United States. We will update this article if we receive more information.

2019 August, SpaceX has presented a plan for each launch of SpaceX from 60 satellites to deploy satellites in “three different orbiting aircraft” rather than just one, “accelerating the process of deploying satellites to a wider range of services”. At the time, SpaceX told the FCC that the change would “potentially” allow it to roll out broadband in the southern United States in 2020. At the end.

As noted by ECISD, the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of the home Internet for students who have to learn and complete assignments from home when there are no personal activities. Stories about children sitting outside schools, libraries and McDonald’s stores using Wi-Fi because their families can’t afford broadband or it’s just not where they live was frustrating.

“When COVID-19 forced the closure of school buildings last spring, it really highlighted the great digital divide in County Ector,” the ECISD report said. “When ECISD leaders got involved in surveys of teachers, students and families, they found that around 39% Families do not have access to the Internet, and SpaceX Starlink satellite technology will provide fast, low-latency broadband Internet coverage in an area where type access is not currently available or available. “

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