SpaceX Starlink Vice President of Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller at Satellite 2021

SpaceX sells to enterprises today, just don’t ask details

National Harbor, MD – While most attention has been focused on SpaceX Starlink’s direct-to-consumer sales, Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller is happy to let you know that the company is selling to enterprise customers.  But beyond that, he’s not providing much detail.

“People are becoming more and more aware we are targeting enterprises…We are working on aviation backhaul,” Hofeller said at a Satellite 2021 panel, “Disaster management and of course you know, oil and gas we have customers, enterprise customers in this space, we are not as public about it. That is coming. And part of that is being on the [Satellite 2021] platform here, but we do have enterprise products and services.”

Hofeller didn’t provide information on how many enterprise customers SpaceX Starlink has signed up or what percentage of those 100,000 users/dishes are enterprise locations during his panel remarks.  He also did not discuss pricing differences on services costs those enterprises may have when compared to the $99/month flat rate consumers get or if enterprise customers are supplied more powerful hardware beyond the basic router suppled to consumer.

A visit to the Starlink website has no public information on how enterprise and governments can inquire about services, with a stark “Order Starlink” being the only interface to request more information.

From tweets and press coverage over the past twelve to eighteen months, SpaceX has engaged with public safety organizations and local governments in Washington State and the New Orleans area to provide broadband services for communications while terrestrial communications infrastructure disrupted by natural disaster is restored.  Starlink dishes have also been supplied to some rural school districts and Tribal communities, providing connectivity for families and organizations in areas that don’t have terrestrial broadband infrastructure.

At Satellite 2020, SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell affirmed that consumers would pay monthly flat rate fees, rather than have tiered or metered plans, but her emphasis on “consumers” in her statement said nothing any potential differences in what enterprise customers and larger organizations might pay.

Other satellite providers provide service level agreements (SLAs) and may provide more capable routing hardware with the ability to switch between terrestrial and satellite connections for resiliency at a minimum. Satellite operators are also starting to promote multi-orbit operation, moving latency-sensitivity traffic onto available LEO or MEO broadband connectivity and using GEO for larger data capacity applications that aren’t as time sensitive.

In brief remarks made after the panel, Hofeller said SpaceX doesn’t do traditional press releases, leaving it up to its customers to make announcements and comments as they see fit.  Other than that, he’s not saying.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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