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Vocus Digs In As Musk’s Starlink Builds Down Under

ASX-listed Vocus has begun work on an earth station in New Zealand for the satellite broadband service Starlink, set up by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Vocus is building the satellite earth station on land leased from a free-range egg farmer in Puwera, south of the Northland city of Whangrei.

Quentin Reade, head of communications at Vocus, has confirmed the start of work, saying: “the investments being made will open up new services and improved connectivity for New Zealand”. So far there’s no news on the start of an Australian operation.

The NZ operation will see nine dishes, each 1.47 metre in diameter and 2.7 metres tall, built for the low orbit satellite broadband service at the Puwera station.

Starlink plans to launch a commercial service towards the second half of the year. The service is said to provide speeds between 50 to 150 megabits per second, although Musk has said this will involve gigabit speeds as the satellite constellations grow. Likely pricing has been set at $139 a month. A terminal will be extra at  $709, plus $100 shipping.

Starlink faces competition from Amazon, which recently won US regulatory approval for launching more than 3000 low-orbit satellites as part of its Project Kuiper.

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