Space X Granted FCC Permission For Satellite Internet
FCC The Federal Communications Commission today granted SpaceX a license to operate an array of broadband internet satellites, marking the first time the government agency has given the green light for a US-licensed low-Earth orbit broadband service. SpaceX co-founder and CEO Elon Musk has been discussing a micro-satellite constellation for providing broadband internet for years, and in 2017 the company began accelerating its efforts by meeting regularly with the FCC and applying for a license that would allow it to operate in an unused portion of the FCC-regulated broadband spectrum. The company plans to call the service Starlink
The order comes weeks after SpaceX launched demo satellites, Tintin A and Tintin B, into orbit to test the concept. SpaceX’s first satellites are expected to come online next year.
The proposed satellite network would differ from current satellite data technology, which is slow and expensive. Under Musk’s plan, SpaceX’s satellite fleet would orbit much closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites that stay in geostationary orbit high above Earth. That means data will travel to and from the satellite much more quickly – increasing the speed and reliability of the connection.
Elon Musks plan is to launch around 12,000 satellites into a low-level orbit around Earth. If successful, it will allow him to create his own internet providing access to homes around the world. In principle, the idea is very exciting and could potentially unlock incredibly fast internet speeds for everyone, everywhere.
The approval has come following Space X launching two test satellites. Tintin A & B were launched last year as a test model and were found to be highly successful.
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell has said:
Although we still have much to do with this complex undertaking this is an important step toward the company building a next-generation satellite network that can link the globe with reliable and affordable broadband service. Especially reaching those who do not have a connection.
Over the past year, the FCC has approved requests by OneWeb, Space Norway, and Telesat to access the United States market to provide broadband services using satellite technology that holds promise to expand Internet access, particularly in remote and rural areas across the country. These approvals are the first of their kind for a new generation of large, non-geostationary satellite orbit, fixed-satellite service systems, and the Commission continues to process other, similar requests.