KT SAT, Korea's sole satellite service provider, announced Wednesday its plan to enhance its maritime communications service by integrating SpaceX's Starlink satellite technology.
With this integration, KT SAT aims to address the growing demand for more robust and higher-speed internet at sea, driven by factors such as increased data usage on modern, sensor-equipped ships for optimizing routes and remote technical assistance.
Starlink's network promises high-speed, low-latency performance, complementing KT SAT's existing geostationary satellites that deliver wide coverage and stable maritime connectivity.
The integration will specifically align Starlink's low Earth orbit satellite network with KT SAT’s Maritime Very Small Aperture Terminal system, its satellite communication system installed on ships. By combining both networks, KT SAT not only expects to enhance operational capabilities, but also improve the welfare of crew members during long sea voyages by providing faster onboard internet.
The company's partnership with Starlink also involves integrating its satellite infrastructure, control systems and customer support. Such a setup is particularly important in maritime operations, where consistent communication and swift technical support are critical in mitigating the impacts of potential connectivity issues at sea.
"Low Earth orbit satellites like those from Starlink are game-changers, especially in hard-to-reach areas like the high seas and airspaces. By meshing Starlink’s capabilities with our geostationary expertise, we're offering our customers a top-tier, comprehensive network service," said Song Kyung-min, CEO and president of KT SAT.
The initiation of Starlink services in South Korea is pending regulatory approval for SpaceX's local subsidiary, Starlink Korea. With the maritime communications market poised for growth, KT SAT is anticipating new waves of customers and plans to extend its satellite communication services to over 2,000 vessels worldwide within three years.