Starlink to establish Isle of Man base station to achieve full UK coverage

Satellite orbiting Earth
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

SpaceX will soon secure a licence to establish a ground station on the Isle of Man that will help the firm expand coverage of its satellite-based internet service Starlink to the entirety of the UK.

The venture, spearheaded by Elon Musk, is in the final stages of securing a telecoms licence with the Isle of Man’s communications regulator to build what will be the third ground station to service the UK, according to the Telegraph. This station will combine with bases in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall to expand Starlink coverage to the whole nation.

By transmitting from the Isle of Man, Starlink can take advantage of less crowded airwaves so the signal can reach more remote parts of Northern Britain that aren’t being serviced with either 5G signal or full-fibre broadband.

Starlink, established by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is a low orbit satellite-based broadband service that provides high speeds with low latency, while eliminating the need to install physical cabling.

A major disadvantage of cable-based broadband is that more remote areas aren't prioritised in most rollout plans, generally as such areas are far less profitable.

Deploying a satellite-based service, however, means rural areas are just as likely to benefit from coverage as densely-populated areas are, so long as there are sufficient base stations and satellites in orbit.


The top three IT pains of the new reality and how to solve them

Driving more resiliency with unified operations and service management


SpaceX launched a test service in the UK earlier this year, according to the newspaper, with customers able to sign up for £89 a month alongside £439 for a satellite dish to receive speeds of up to 150Mbps.

Sky News previously reported in March that SpaceX was in talks with the UK government to attempt to solve the UK’s connectivity crisis, particularly the widespread concerns that more remote parts were being left behind.

The government has been keen, in recent months, to vastly expand full-fibre broadband coverage across the UK, although the vast majority of Britain still isn’t eligible to receive gigabit speeds.

While Starlink isn't offering download speeds that are as fast as those quoted in full-fibre packages, it’s likely to be immediately available in areas not likely to receive full-fibre connectivity for months or even years.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.