The Western Australian Police Force (WAPF) has announced that it is investing AU$8.5 million in Starlink equipment and internet services for its vehicles and regional police stations. The decision to deploy Starlink was made after a three-month technology trial by officers who were working from isolated police stations.
The three-month trial showed that Starlink is capable of providing reliable and high-speed internet access in areas with subpar cellular or radio coverage. The WAPF noted that the service works even in locations that traditionally have no coverage at all.
Once the deployment is complete, all WAPF officers will have access to mission-critical information, automatic number plate recognition data, and real-time emergency alerts, regardless of their location.
Officers will be able to livestream body-worn and vehicle dashboard camera footage to the State Operations Command Centre in Perth. Officers will also be able to access aircraft and security camera vision. These capabilities should improve the WAPF’s situational awareness and help officers with real-time decision-making during emergencies.
As per a report from ITNews.com.au, part of the initiative includes the integration of Starlink connectivity with the WAPF’s current communications network. Police Minister Paul Papalia welcomed the investment, stating that it would provide officers with a reliable internet connection regardless of their location.
“The WA Police Force operates in one of the largest geographical police districts in the world, and it’s about to have complete communication coverage. For the first time, officers will have high-speed internet no matter where they are in the state,” Papalia said.
Starlink is steadily growing into its own business, and similar to Elon Musk’s other initiatives, the satellite internet system is also being constantly improved. Earlier this month alone, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Starlink’s two new dish designs, one of which was a smaller unit that’s designed for portability.
SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Jonathan Hofeller also noted that SpaceX is no longer losing money with the production of its satellite dishes. “We were subsidizing terminals, but we’ve been iterating on our terminal production so much that we’re no longer subsidizing terminals, which is a good place to be,” he said.
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