Tech

BT and EE in talks with Elon Musk’s Starlink

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British telecommunications giant BT is in talks with Elon Musk’s Starlink to bring broadband and mobile services to remote areas in the United Kingdom, according to a Telegraph report.

Successfully tested last week, SpaceX’s satellite-based network sent its first text messages between two mobile phones in a breakthrough moment for the space transport services company.

It was delivered using the T-Mobile network in the United States but up to now, no UK carrier has been in place to enable a rollout of services on the other side of the Atlantic. That could now change with news of work being carried out in England as BT is said to be testing Starlink equipment at its Adastral Park research centre, near Ipswich.

The British firm wants to be able to deliver connections to hard-to-reach locations, which is something that Startlink wants to replicate across the globe. At this stage, BT is exploring what the satellite system can do for broadband services whilst also considering the capability to improve mobile connectivity.

Business priority for the partnership

The BT Group operates EE, the second-largest mobile network operator in the UK but approval would be required from the regulator Ofcom if a direct-to-mobile deal was to be agreed with Starlink.

Whilst there is obvious potential for both consumer and business markets, initial talks between both parties are said to be concentrating on the latter.

BT wants to be able to deliver effective broadband and mobile services to sites such as oil rigs, mines, and secluded remote workplaces. It is expected that a consumer offering would follow, given the crossover in providing services that were previously out of reach.

The British government has worked with mobile operators in a £1 billion scheme to target rural “not spots” but Vodafone, Three, and Virgin Media O2 have tempered expectations with a warning that the first phase of the project will be delayed by around two years.

Graeme Hanna

Freelance Writer

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing.

Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter.

Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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