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Pictures of a SpaceX broadband-satellite dish and wildfire-ravaged areas of Washington State.
Enlarge / A Starlink user terminal and wildfire-devastated areas seen in images shared by Washington state’s Emergency Management Division.

SpaceX Starlink is providing Internet access to Washington state emergency responders in areas ravaged by wildfires. The group has deployed seven Starlink user terminals (i.e. satellite dishes) since it began using the service in early August, as CNBC reported yesterday:

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up, and anywhere near as reliable” as Starlink, Richard Hall, the emergency telecommunications leader of the Washington State Military Department’s IT division, told CNBC in an interview Monday.

The broadband service has helped both emergency responders and families in wildfire-stricken areas. Hall “has set up terminals in areas that were burned severely to provide evacuated families with wireless calling and Internet access to file insurance claims,” CNBC wrote. Hall said he also “did setup to

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Responders fighting wildfires in Washington are getting some extra help from SpaceX and the company’s internet-from-space Starlink initiative. SpaceX loaned the Washington Emergency Management Division a handful of user terminals that can tap into the company’s Starlink satellites, providing internet to rural areas where first responders are battling raging wildfires.

SpaceX is still at the very beginning of building out its Starlink constellation, which could consist of nearly 12,000 satellites when it’s complete. That number of satellites could beam broadband internet services to every spot on Earth at all times from relatively low orbits, potentially providing global internet coverage from space. There’s still a ways to go. So far, SpaceX has launched nearly 800 satellites, though dozens have also been taken out of orbit. SpaceX plans to start beta testing in the Washington area with the satellites that remain in orbit.

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Washington Emergency Management Division

The Starlink satellite internet network that SpaceX is developing has been used in the field by Washington state emergency responders in recent weeks, the first early application of the company’s service to be disclosed.

Washington’s state military, which includes its emergency response division, began employing Starlink user terminals in early August to bring internet service to areas devastated by wildfires. User terminals are the small devices on the ground that connect to the satellites. The emergency division has seven Starlink user terminals, which it is deploying with early success.

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up, and anywhere near as reliable” as Starlink, Richard Hall, the emergency telecommunications leader of the Washington State Military Department’s IT division, told CNBC in an interview Monday.

How Washington’s using Starlink

Starlink is the name for SpaceX’s ambitious plan to

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  • Washington’s state military, which includes its emergency response division, began using Starlink user terminals in early August to bring internet service to areas devastated by wildfires.
  • “I have spent the better part of four or five hours with some satellite equipment trying to get a good [connection]. So, to me, it’s amazing,” Washington state’s emergency telecommunications leader Richard Hall told CNBC.
  • Washington has used Starlink to get regions “zero day communications,” Hall said.



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The Starlink satellite internet network that SpaceX is developing has been used in the field by Washington state emergency responders in recent weeks, the first early application of the company’s service to be disclosed.

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Washington’s state military, which includes its emergency response division, began employing Starlink user terminals in early August to bring internet service to areas devastated by wildfires. User terminals are the small devices on the ground that connect

Read More