John Deere Using Starlink High-Speed Internet To Connect Its Tractors in Remote Areas

John Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internet 10 photos
Photo: John Deere
John Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internetJohn Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internetJohn Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internetJohn Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internetJohn Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internetStarlink high-speed internetStarlink high-speed internetStarlink high-speed internetJohn Deere chooses Starlink high-speed internet
Starlink announced a new partnership with John Deere to connect tractors and combined harvesters across the US and Brazil to the internet. This would allow farmers to access precision agriculture technologies in remote areas without data coverage.
Starlink is arguably SpaceX's most valuable business. Despite being one of the few companies able to lift cargo into space, SpaceX relies mostly on its Starlink constellation for the bulk of its revenues. By providing internet services to various companies and the military, Starlink is a golden mine for SpaceX. This is only going to get better over time as SpaceX deploys more satellites and the internet speeds get better.

Based on what people say, Starlink is by far the fastest and best satellite internet service available to people living in remote areas with no landline connections. It's also reasonably priced, which means it has a lot of happy customers. For many areas, including the oceans, Starlink Internet is the only true option to access the internet. This is why Elon Musk's company signed deals to install Starlink dishes inside commercial vessels and airplanes.

However, the deal signed with tractor manufacturer John Deere might be the best so far. The agricultural machinery giant wants to equip all its devices, new and old, operating in remote areas with Starlink internet. For a long time, John Deere sold digital farming services that help automate planting and harvesting. These services depend on an internet connection to function, so farmers in no-connectivity zones have not been interested until now.

With Starlink internet installed in every machine, there's no place on Earth where precision agriculture technologies don't work. This significantly expands John Deere's customer base, and it's also a massive win for SpaceX. Starlink didn't win this contract easily. John Deere has tested the technology for the past eight months before making a decision. Starlink's internet speed was basically what closed the deal.

Deere said that Starlink service will be offered in Brazil and unconnected parts of the US later this year, with other countries to follow. Elon Musk's company will provide custom-made antennas for John Deere tractors, designed to withstand dusty, rugged conditions. The Starlink connection will allow farmers to monitor and troubleshoot equipment remotely, as well as acquire real-time data on soil, seeds, and planting.

If you're wondering how big of a market John Deere is for Starlink, it's enough to know that it sells around 60% of high-horsepower tractors used in the US and Canada. The company reported $55.6 billion in equipment sales in its most recent fiscal year, which means it can be Starlink's most important customer by far.

Of course, not all farming machines will have a Starlink dish on their cabin. Still, with 30% of the farmed land in the US outside of coverage areas, the partnership becomes crucial for both companies. In other parts of the world, connectivity is even scarcer. In Brazil, which is one of the world's largest producers of agricultural products, more than 70% of farmed land lacks adequate connectivity.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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