London: Elon Musk’s satellite broadband company Starlink is in talks with the UK government to provide connectivity in hard-to-reach areas.
The Starlink satellites could be used to provide connectivity in rural areas that can’t be reached by traditional broadband.
The Sky News reported that it comes as Boris Johnson has promised a 5 billion pound “rocket boost” for parts of the country with slow broadband – the latest pledge in his “levelling up” agenda.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden believes the satellite constellation project by the billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk is one of the best ways to deliver coverage in hard-to-reach areas, although alternatives are being considered, the report said.
Ministers claim up to 510,000 homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley will be the first to benefit as part of Project Gigabit.
In June the government expects to announce the next procurements to connect up to 640,000 premises in Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Starlink’s low Earth orbit satellites circle the planet, offering ultrafast broadband for the regions they pass over.
Although the network currently only offers speeds between 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and 150 Mbps — with brief periods of no connectivity — by the end of the year the government expects Starlink to be offering up to 200 Mbps across the whole of the UK.