Elon Musk is laying the groundwork for an attack on the British broadband market after securing an Ofcom licence to install potentially thousands of satellite dishes across rural Britain.
Starlink, the broadband satellite network founded by Mr Musk, received a licence late last year to install user terminals in Britain, an Ofcom spokesman confirmed.
The US company has also set up a UK entity, Starlink Internet Services, and launched a limited trial of its rural broadband service as part of preparations that would see it compete with the Government-backed satellite venture OneWeb.
Mr Musk, who this week became the world’s richest man worth $188bn, set up Starlink as part of his $92bn rocket company SpaceX.
Starlink’s user terminals consist of a small satellite dish, nicknamed “Dishy McFlatFace” by the space company, and a Wi-Fi router. It launched trials in the US last year.
In the UK, a handful of people said last week they had received the first email invites to apply for early access to Starlink, costing £89 per month and £439 for the kit.
One confirmed to The Telegraph he had been sent the sign-up email and had applied for and received a test satellite dish and router. Philip Hall, of Brithem Bottom, Devon, said: “It’s a game changer for us with no near-term prospect of a fibre rollout.”
The Starlink satellite venture last year received a licence to install one million satellite dishes across the US. The antennae are designed to be used in rural areas, where getting fibre broadband is impractical or prohibitively expensive.