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Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service has new ground station on UK island

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SpaceX has set up a Starlink satellite ground station on the Isle of Man, according to a report.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Samantha Lee/Insider
  • SpaceX Starlink's new UK ground station is now online, the Starlink.sx website suggests.
  • The new station, on the Isle of Man, further expands the satellite internet service's UK coverage.
  • Starlink chose the tiny island for its location, spectrum, and infrastructure, sources told CNBC.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

SpaceX's new Starlink satellite base on a small island in the Irish Sea is operational, the Starlink.sx website suggests.

The site keeps track of where Starlink's satellites and ground stations are located worldwide, although it isn't affiliated with SpaceX.

A new ground station on the Isle of Man, which links satellites in orbit to internet data centres on Earth, is now represented with an orange dot on the Starlink.sx website, suggesting it is online.

Moving blue dots on Starlink.sx represent operational Starlink satellites. At the time of writing, two satellites appeared to be connected to the Isle of Man ground station, represented by orange dotted lines.

Screenshot of Starlink tracker website, Starlink.sx.
Starlink.sx

SpaceX didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Isle of Man ground station is Starlink's third in the UK. The other two are located in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall, in the south of England.

Starlink's three ground stations means its network, which now has nearly 100,000 users, can reach rural areas in northern Britain that can't be reached by fibre broadband or 5G internet.

Starlink's plans to build a satellite ground station on the Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency, were first reported by The Telegraph on July 31.

SpaceX's decision to set up its satellite base in the Isle of Man was based on the island's location, spectrum, and existing satellite infrastructure, two sources in the satellite industry told CNBC.

The Isle of Man government told CNBC that Starlink had been working on the project with local communications provider BlueWave.

BlueWave declined to comment on the plans.

The two companies have licensed some parts of the island's spectrum, the government told CNBC. Spectrum refers to the airwaves that carry signals that are needed for mobile phones and wireless internet connection.

BlueWave has a satellite ground station near the capital, Douglas, situated on the east coast of the island.

A source in the satellite industry who spoke to CNBC said that BlueWave's satellite base has up to eight radomes - big, bubble-like domes which cover a radar antenna to protect it from the weather.

The ground station has "an excellent horizon scan because being surrounded by sea, it means there is nothing in the way," the second source told CNBC.

The communications regulator for the Isle of Man confirmed to CNBC on Thursday that Starlink and Bluewave received a license for the "provision of services and location of associated equipment on the island."

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