Though development on the project only began back in 2015, Starlink internet service has made large strides towards being a legitimate ISP option for folks that are outside of the coverage zones for conventional high-speed internet service. In an effort to keep pushing towards its original goals, SpaceX, which operates the Starlink network, has announced the acquisition of Swarm Technologies and its satellites.
Founded in 2016, Swarm was dedicated to providing mobile broadband access to rural customers by way of its cluster of picosatellites. The company made some headlines a few years back when it opted to launch some of its satellites without a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC later granted Swarm permission to send additional satellites into orbit following its initial unauthorized deployment.
In a filing to the FCC, SpaceX formally requested “consent to transfer to SpaceX control of the earth and space station licenses held by Swarm, a U.S.-licensed satellite operator in the non-voice, non-geostationary mobile-satellite service.” In the filing, the company also mentions that it is “in the process of gaining market access for its U.S.-based constellation in other jurisdictions. It recently began offering services to customers in the agriculture, maritime, energy, environmental, and transportation sectors, among others in need of global satellite connectivity for IoT devices.”
Starlink entered its first Public Beta test for its internet service in late 2020 over North America. The Beta has expanded in scope to include Canada, Germany, United Kingdom. France, Australia, and Chile. The next scheduled expansion for the Starlink Beta is expected in October for Mexico.