In a groundbreaking development, European satellite operator SES and SpaceX’s Starlink have joined forces to usher in a new era of high-speed internet connectivity for cruise ships and their passengers. This collaborative venture, known as SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink, is poised to redefine the maritime internet landscape, promising uninterrupted, high-speed internet access 24/7.
Chad Gibbs, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Business Operations, expressed the excitement surrounding this partnership, stating, “We are excited to collaborate with SES on a joint solution that combines the reach and capacity of both satellite constellations to offer a solution unlike any other in the market.”
The highly anticipated SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink service is slated for availability by Q4 2023, marking a significant milestone in maritime connectivity. What sets this offering apart is its ability to harness the strengths of both medium-Earth orbit (MEO) and low-Earth orbit (LEO) networks, providing cruise ships with unparalleled internet solutions.
The service offers two distinct tiers to cater to the diverse needs of cruise operators. The Premium tier, boasting an impressive 3Gbps per ship, is tailor-made for vessels aiming to deliver industry-leading throughput. On the other hand, the Pro tier, offering a substantial 1.5Gbps per ship, is designed for operators seeking to optimize user experiences by matching specific applications with the appropriate orbit.
John-Paul Hemingway, Chief Strategy Officer at SES, emphasized the commitment to delivering a world-class connectivity experience for cruise customers, mirroring the quality of service they would expect on land. Hemingway explained, “By being the only one in the cruise industry to expand our unique multi-orbit GEO and MEO network to utilize LEO, we believe it opens new opportunities for us to meet the needs of cruise guests and crew members and the operational requirements of cruise operators to accelerate their digital transformations – wherever they may be.”
This collaboration between SpaceX’s Starlink and SES is a testament to the synergy between two industry leaders. Starlink has steadily expanded its presence in the maritime sector and made a significant announcement in May 2023, revealing plans for over 150 cruise ships to utilize its internet services.
In contrast, SES brings a decade of experience in delivering connectivity services directly to cruise operators. The European satellite operator has been at the forefront of pioneering multi-orbit geostationary (GEO) and MEO-enabled networks, setting the stage for this transformative partnership.
With SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink on the horizon, cruise ships and their passengers can anticipate a new era of seamless, high-speed internet access, underscoring the importance of collaboration and innovation in advancing maritime connectivity.