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Japan becomes first in Asia to get Starlink connection

Most of central Japan is covered by the technology from Tesla's Elon Musk

A timed exposure of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as it launches 34 Starlink satellites as well as the AST SpaceMobile "BlueWalker 3" satellite. Japan on Tuesday became the first nation in Asia to get Internet access through the technology. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
A timed exposure of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as it launches 34 Starlink satellites as well as the AST SpaceMobile "BlueWalker 3" satellite. Japan on Tuesday became the first nation in Asia to get Internet access through the technology. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Japan on Tuesday became the first country in Asia to receive Internet access from the Starlink satellite system from the SpaceX company controlled by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Starlink is led by SpaceX, which envisions the system as part of a constellation of satellites that would deliver broadband Internet across the globe.

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A service map from Starlink shows most of central and northern Japan is now covered by the technology, including Tokyo. The rest of the country could see full coverage by the fourth quarter. South Korea, to Japan's west, is expected to get service early next year, the Bloomberg news agency reported.

SpaceX broke its annual record with the completion of its 32nd successful launch in 2022 after sending 46 of its Starlink satellites to orbit in July. It completed 31 successful launches in all of 2021.

For Japan, the company's satellite technology means remote islands and mountainous areas can get a secure link to the Internet with a monthly service fee of $84, the Nikkei news agency reported.

The company also wants to make the technology available for air travelers, but it's been challenged by national policies in the past. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission in August cancelled a grant to bring broadband access to rural areas after the parties behind the program "failed to meet program requirements and convince the FCC to fund risky proposals."

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