On Friday, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped a Toyota Prius that had what looks like a Starlink plate attached to its hood, the agency said in a Facebook post. The “visual obstruction”, sitting right in the middle of the hood of the car, earned the driver a ticket.

“Sir, I arrested you today for that visual obstruction on your hood. Doesn’t it block your view while driving? said an officer, quoted in a Publish on the CHP Antelope Valley Facebook page. The driver replied: “Only when I make right turns …”

The driver told the CHP agent he was using the antenna to get Wi-Fi for a business he was running out of his car, the agency told CNBC, who first signaled the stop of traffic.

“Yes, it is actually illegal to mount a satellite dish on the hood of your vehicle,” the CHP’s Facebook post continued, citing a state law that prohibits other obstructions to eyesight like items hanging from it. a mirror or a badly positioned GPS. mounted. “It’s a matter of security. These are the real stories of the highway patrol. A nice journey to all of you.

Starlink, SpaceX’s rapidly growing broadband internet service, is in the midst of an open beta period with more than 70,000 users in 12 countries, according to its CEO Elon Musk. Many individual users are paying $ 99 per month for internet as part of this beta, using a $ 499 set of a large, self-aligning, pizza-sized Starlink dish and a Wi-Fi router. .

SpaceX does not yet have FCC approval to mount consumer Starlink terminals on moving vehicles, but the company has been trial these capabilities for months – primarily for commercial use cases such as transport ships, large trucks, and passenger planes. Musk said the Starlink antennas, as currently designed, would be too powerful for individual cars.

“The antenna for this high bandwidth, low latency thing is sort of the size of an average pizza, which you could put on a car, but I think it’s more bandwidth than you don’t. ‘really needed it,’ Musk said during a January 2020 earnings call. “Technically, you can buy one and stick it on the car.”


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