KDDI commenced operation of its first base station using SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network to deliver backhaul for its au high-speed service in the island of Hatsushima, its first step to boost coverage by deploying 12,000 sites nationwide.

The operator explained in a statement it plans to use the satellite service for backhaul to areas where it is difficult to lay fibre cables, as it pushes to bring connectivity to the country’s mountainous areas and 6,000 islands.

KDDI noted it completed quality verification of its base stations connected to the Starlink service, confirming the satellite connection can provide customers with quality comparable to sites connected by fibre.

The operator also plans to offer the service to private companies and local governments across Japan.

In mid-October, KDDI signed an agreement with SpaceX to act as an authorised Starlink integrator in Japan.