Copec to use Starlink to bring satellite internet to Patagonia gas stations

Bnamericas Published: Friday, January 13, 2023
Copec to use Starlink to bring satellite internet to Patagonia gas stations

Chilean fuel distributor Copec expects to connect 18 gas stations on the far south Austral highway with SpaceX's Starlink satellite service.

The stations, which will be connected in the coming weeks, are located between Hornopirén and Villa O'Higgins, according to a statement.

Copec began the implementation of satellite internet in the service stations in Villa Cerro Castillo, in Río Ibáñez municipality south of Coyhaique.

The installation provides Wi-Fi hotspots within 300-400m of the premises.

“One of the main advantages of this system is that it can provide secure and stable connectivity in rural or remote areas, which was decisive for us to make this decision in line with our role in Patagonia, which is precisely to contribute to connectivity and development in places that are difficult to access," Copec’s general manager Arturo Natho said in the press release.

The company plans to continue growing in the southern zone with the installation of antennas in another nine stations. In a first stage, Copec will install 74 antennas in the country.

Starlink began operations in Chile in 2021 with the connection of the town of Sotomó in Los Lagos region.

It offers satellite internet with a low-orbit constellation that promises to deliver "fiber-like" speeds. In Chile, according to regulator Subtel, the company had more than 7,000 connections as of September 2022, up from 3,000 registered in March.

The company has also been working with the watchdog on pilot projects for the development of community Wi-Fi within the framework of the Subtel Brecha Digital Cero plan.

In October, Lago Verde municipality in Aysén region acquired two Starlink kits to provide connectivity. Its first pilot, in Villa La Tapera, aims to measure its impact on coverage and quality of service, evaluating its potential as a connectivity solution in rural and remote sectors of different regions of the country.

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