PARIS — Remote communications provider Speedcast has become the first company to sign a distribution deal to resell SpaceX’s Starlink broadband services to enterprise and maritime customers.
Announcing the agreement Sept. 13 during World Satellite Business Week here, Speedcast said SpaceX’s low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation would enable higher speeds and lower latency for its customers on oil rigs, merchant vessels, and those in other remote areas.
Speedcast currently connects these locations via capacity it buys from satellites operating farther from the Earth in geostationary orbit.
“Starlink is an exciting new communications pathway for customers,” Speedcast CEO Joe Spytek said in a statement, “offering significant diversity and added capacity at a time when remote sites continue to push to the farthest ends of the Earth and when bandwidth demand is ever increasing.”
Speedcast said their agreement marks the first deal of its kind with Starlink, which typically prefers to sell directly to customers.
Starlink branched out of consumer broadband into the enterprise and maritime markets earlier this year as SpaceX continues to expand its constellation globally.
There is a high barrier to entry to serve energy customers in particular, Euroconsult Canada managing director Nathan de Ruiter said, and this distribution deal is one way for SpaceX to break into that market.
The energy industry is a premium user of satellite capacity and has high service requirements to ensure safety and resilient operations.
The other large satellite communications provider in this market is Rignet, which was sold to Starlink’s GEO broadband rival Viasat in 2020.
James Trevelyan, who leads Speedcast’s global enterprise business, said the company expects to start providing Starlink services in the near-term globally — depending on where the network is available, and the regions SpaceX has permission to operate.
“We can’t get enough capacity,” Trevelyan said on the sidelines of World Satellite Business Week.
“It’s fundamental to our whole ethos of bringing more bandwidth to the edge. The fact that it’s a different technology doesn’t really matter. Our mission is to bring bandwidth to these sites and make sure they work all the time.”
Spytek told SpaceNews in April that demand for capacity was outstripping supply amid a lack of new GEO satellites.
Speedcast also has a partnership to sell broadband services from LEO operator OneWeb, which currently only has coverage at 50 degrees and north while it waits to resume satellite deployments this year.