Starlink devices purchased by the state for new pilot program
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The state’s Broadband Office is using some new technology to try and get more South Carolinians access to internet – namely households with school-aged children.
It’s something that became pretty popular after the war in Ukraine – Starlink devices from Elon Musk’s Space X company.
“When SpaceX launches the Falcon 9 rocket, and a lot of us have seen that happen, they actually deploy about 40 satellites every launch,” Jim Stritzinger, the Director for South Carolina’s Broadband Office, says.
Those satellites form what SpaceX calls a constellation which creates internet service down on the ground.
“The Starlink product is designed to go into the most remote rural homes,” Stritzinger explains. “These places that are really hard to reach. So we wanted to do that.”
The state broadband office partnered with the state Department of Education – which in turn selected 20 student and/or staff member homes to send the first devices.
They officially went live last month and those with the state are hoping to expand the program.
“We’re hopeful that that folds in and becomes part of our strategy in South Carolina because there are as we all know there are some 600-acre farms, there are some remote locations in the South Carolina Lowcountry where it’s not ecologically feasible to build through the marsh and things like that” Stritzinger says. “Starlink would be perfect for some of those situations as we go forward. So we think it has a part to play long term in our equation.”
The Department of Ed had to pre-purchase 20 Angel subscriptions – the cost of the hardware and 12 months’ worth of service. In total – it cost about $3,000 per household for the Starlink device.
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