KDDI teams up with SpaceX to give better access in remote areas

© Kyodo News

Major Japanese telecommunications service provider KDDI Corp. said Monday it has joined hands with SpaceX to provide better access to users on remote islands and in mountainous regions in Japan via the U.S. firm's satellites.

KDDI said it aims to deliver with Space Exploration Technologies Corp., founded by tech billionaire Elon Musk, high-speed, low-latency broadband internet via SpaceX's Starlink satellites to 1,200 remote mobile towers as soon as 2022 so its rural customers can experience urban-level mobile connectivity.

Starlink satellites are positioned in low Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 kilometers, over 65 times closer than traditional satellites, providing higher transmission speeds for end users, according to KDDI.

Starlink is currently offering initial beta service to more than 100,000 users around the world and is continuing expansion toward global coverage. Customers of KDDI's "au" mobile service will face no additional charges due to the new service, the company added.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has issued an experimental license to operate the ground station for Starlink service installed at KDDI's Yamaguchi Satellite Communication Center in western Japan, according to KDDI.