Elon Musk’s Starlink broadband terminals gets approval in UK

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Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite broadband system has received licensing approval from UK authorities
Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite broadband system has received licensing approval from UK authorities
Brendan Smialowski, AFP

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite broadband system has received licensing approval for its user terminals from the UK’s communications regulator, paving the way for the billionaire’s venture to enter another major market.

The authorisation was granted in November, an Ofcom spokesman said by email on Saturday. Greece, Germany and Australia have also approved the new system, according to local reports.

Musk -- now the the world's richest man -- aims to roll out global super-fast Internet coverage to connect users beyond the reach of existing broadband networks by sending thousands of satellites into low-earth orbit.

Starlink has already launched hundreds of the satellites and started testing a beta service in North America. It’s part of the billionaire’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, which shoots the satellites into space. The approval paves the way for Musk’s venture to enter the British broadband market where it could compete with terrestrial U.K. Internet providers like BT Group Plc and traditional satellite firms like Inmarsat Group Holdings Ltd., as well as OneWeb -- the low-earth orbit satellite system recently rescued from bankruptcy by the government and India’s telecoms conglomerate Bharti Global.

Musk said in December that Starlink would likely be a candidate for an initial public offering once its revenue growth becomes “reasonably predictable.” The UK approval was reported earlier by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

--With assistance from Bill Lehane.

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