SpaceX’s bourgeoning Starlink satellite-based broadband internet service just got a big boost from a significant new partner: Google Cloud. Thanks to a new partnership between the two, SpaceX will now be locating Starlink ground stations right within Google’s existing data centers, providing the Starlink network with direct access to ground-based network infrastructure to help facilitate network connections for customers who are on the edges of the footprint of existing network access.
Starlink’s fundamental aim is to provide reliable, broadband-quality connections to areas typically hard or impossible to reach with legacy ground-based network infrastructure, including cellular networks. The tie-up with Google means that business and public sector customers taking advantage of that new network reach have access to internet connections and cloud-based infrastructure and applications, including AI and machine learning capabilities, analytics, and more.
This should bolster Starlink’s reliability in terms of its consumer clients and provide critical capabilities for serving enterprise customers — another required target demographic for the growing Starlink business. However, much of the public focus thus far for Starlink’s roll-out has been on residential access across its expanding beta.
Google and Starlink expect to become available to enterprise customers soon — sometimes pin the “second half of 2021,” according to a press release issued by the companies. SpaceX has been very aggressive in building out the Starlink network in the past few months, launching 480 in just around there months. All that in-space infrastructure build-out could well have been pre-amble to this collaboration and enterprise-focused service launch, in addition to helping SpaceX expand Starlink consumer service quality and availability.