Quebec Taps SpaceX’s Starlink Internet for 10,000 Rural Homes

The province of Quebec in Canada will leverage SpaceX’s Starlink internet for over 10,000 homes in rural areas of the province, reports CTV News.

According to Gilles Belanger, the parliamentary assistant to the premier at a press conference on Monday, Starlink was the most viable solution for difficult-to-reach areas instead of fibre optics.

“The only solution to connect these orphaned households is the SpaceX solution. I’m not linking to Elon Musk, I’m linking to the technology solution, which is the most advanced,” said Belanger.

“Often, people will confuse the old high-orbit satellite with the new low-orbit satellite. There will be no problem in terms of quality of internet service,” added Belanger.

Quebec will invest $50 million CAD ($38.4 million USD) to fund the deployment of Starlink for 10,200 homes, south of the 57th parallel by September 30, 2022.

The rural homes will benefit from a $9.5 million CAD subsidy to purchase Starlink hardware for satellite internet. This means these rural internet users just need to plug in a satellite dish and aim it at the sky to get access to high speed internet, that exceeds the federal government’s 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload minimum.

Leader of the Official Opposition, Dominique Anglade, said she did not know all the details yet for granting an American company to deploy internet in Quebec.

“I would have preferred that we deal with people who are here in Quebec. To understand the need to do business with this company when we have some here in Quebec, that is the first question I would have asked the government,” said Anglade.

Quebec said local companies would have been given priority for the internet rollout, according to Stéphane Le Bouyonnec, Associate Secretary General of the Conseil exécutif du Québec.

The province hopes to expand high speed internet to 250,000 rural homes in the province, which includes the 10,000 set to get Starlink.

According to Bélanger, the province delayed its Starlink plans, to allow SpaceX to help with distributing its satellite hardware to Ukraine.

Quebec has so far committed $1.1 billion CAD to accelerate the deployment of high speed internet to rural areas, with the federal government contributing $470 million CAD and the province at $610 million CAD.

SpaceX recently launched a Starlink portability feature, allowing customers to use their internet service outside of their home address for an extra $25 USD per month.