This just in: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given the green light for SpaceX to operate two new models of its Starlink satellite internet dishes.
Here are the measurements of the two new dishes:
- New High Performance Antenna: 22.4″ x 14.7″; UT3-V1; 36.4 dBi at 14.2500 GHz; 35.0 dBi at 11.8300 GHz
- “Mini” Antenna: 11.4″ x 9.8″; UT3-V2; 31.8 dBi @ 14.2500 GHz 30.4 dBi @ 11.8300 GHz
The proposed High Performance terminal as well as the Mini antenna are roughly half the size compared to their respective counterparts, namely the rectangular High Performance antenna and Standard dish.
Furthermore, both new models are capable of communicating with SpaceX’s first and second generation Starlink satellites already in orbit.
While details on pricing and speed capabilities are still unclear, SpaceX stated in their application that these next generation user terminals will bring added benefits to consumers and strengthen the public interest argument for approval.
The FCC authorization covers fixed use of the dishes. SpaceX has separately applied to operate the same hardware on vehicles, aircraft, and boats, but that application faces some opposition and has not yet been approved.
This would also explain why Starlink’s Aviation offering has been rather slow to roll out, although it’s certainly just one factor of many.
Right now, it’s unclear when the new dishes will go on sale. However, there are a few indicators supporting a launch in the next few weeks.
First of all, Business customers in the US can currently only order the Flat High Performance dish:
Starlink, in all likeliness, wants to get rid of its current stock to make literal room for the new and smaller antennas, which will be a traveler’s new favorite choice.
Secondly, the newest Starlink Gen 3 router was also released a week after it received approval from the FCC.
I would expect that the rollout process is similar to the newest router, namely allowing a selected group of beta testers to first get their hands on the product.
Eventually, and if there are no major flaws being discovered, you can expect Starlink either replace its current Gen 2 antennas or add the Gen 3 version as an additional option when ordering.