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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday March 25 2020, @05:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the space-is-becoming-a-crowded-place dept.

SpaceX gets FCC license for 1 million satellite-broadband user terminals

SpaceX has received government approval to deploy up to 1 million user terminals in the United States for its Starlink satellite-broadband constellation.

SpaceX asked the Federal Communications Commission for the license in February 2019, and the FCC announced its approval in a public notice last week. The FCC approval is for "a blanket license for the operation of up to 1,000,000 fixed earth stations that will communicate with [SpaceX's] non-geostationary orbit satellite system." The license is good for 15 years.

[...] One million terminals would only cover a fraction of US homes, but SpaceX isn't necessarily looking to sign up huge portions of the US population. Musk said at the conference that Starlink will likely serve the "3 or 4 percent hardest-to-reach customers for telcos" and "people who simply have no connectivity right now, or the connectivity is really bad." Starlink won't have lots of customers in big cities like LA "because the bandwidth per cell is simply not high enough," he said.

SpaceX's main Starlink constellation competitor is running out of money

OneWeb, the only pressing competitor facing SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet constellation, has reportedly begun to consider filing for bankruptcy shortly before the London-based company completed its third dedicated launch.

Following the completion of its first full 34-satellite launch with a Russian Soyuz rocket on February 7th, OneWeb managed to complete a second launch on March 22nd just a few days after Bloomberg revealed its bankruptcy concerns. OneWeb now has 74 ~150-kg (330 lb) satellites in orbit – roughly 11% of its initial 650-satellite constellation. Like SpaceX, OneWeb's goal is to manufacture and launch an unprecedented number of high-performance small satellites for a per-spacecraft cost that would have previously been inconceivable.

[...] Requiring numerous revolutions in satellite manufacturing, antenna production, and launch vehicle affordability, as well as a vast and complex network of ground terminals, numerous companies have tried and failed to rise to the challenge over the decades. Original Globalstar, Teledesic, and Iridium constellations all raised more than $10 billion in the 1990s under the promise of blanketing the Earth with internet from space. All wound up bankrupt at one point or another.

See also: The true impact of SpaceX's Starlink constellation on astronomy is coming into focus

Previously:
SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit
SpaceX and OneWeb Clash Over Proposed Satellite Constellation Orbits
OneWeb Joins the Satellite Internet Gold Rush this Week
OneWeb Launches its First Large Batch of Broadband Satellites, Plans March Launch and April Break
How Does Starlink Work Anyway?


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:31PM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday March 25 2020, @02:31PM (#975467) Journal

    I don't think they can stop people from trying to use it in suburbs. It's usable since the sky can be clearly seen and the instructions are "plug in and point at sky, in either order". 5 homes in a row might get it for an RV but try to use it while at home. Unlikely, but it could happen.

    Maybe it just won't be very popular with people who already have a half decent connection, and that will limit the problem.

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  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday March 26 2020, @02:29AM

    by Immerman (3985) on Thursday March 26 2020, @02:29AM (#975695)

    Actually, it'd be pretty easy to stop: just don't send or acknowledge any data associated with rural accounts trying to connect within an urban area. Every satellite knows what area it's currently serving, and your ISP always knows whose account to bill for every byte of data.

    Even if they didn't though, it'd be fairly pointless to do. That basic service package that gets you 100Mbps in the far end of nowhere? You get within 70 miles of a city and you'd have to start sharing that bandwidth with many thousands of other people instead of only hundreds. Your performance is going to tank. Especially since you'll almost certainly be sharing whatever bandwidth is left over after the high-dollar premium accounts have tranceived their fill.