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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

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 Immerman on Friday March 27 2020, @12:48AM (4 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Friday March 27 2020, @12:48AM (#976149)

    Heck yeah they would be. Especially since we tend to fight our proxy-wars in out-of-the-way places that aren't easily connected to high-bandwidth, low-latency connections back to the drone-operators at home.

    Of course you probably wouldn't want to rely on a satellite signal on the battlefield proper (though it might be option #1 with a fallback). The transmission powers are low and easily jammed. But deliver that bandwidth to your base of operations and you can handle the last miles as appropriate.

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  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday March 27 2020, @01:05AM (3 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Friday March 27 2020, @01:05AM (#976153) Journal

    It mightn't be that easy to jam. The ground station is highly directional and looking roughly straight up. The satellites are 500km away and moving fast. Swamping the signal might be doable, but then the ground station might simply switch to the next satellite if it loses the connection.
    Not to mention anything putting out that much interference on a battleground is radiating a "bomb here" message.

    If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday March 27 2020, @03:23AM (2 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Friday March 27 2020, @03:23AM (#976201)

      Bet you a $50 commercial drone with a $10 transmitter could do the job quite nicely over an impressive area. What's it cost you to shoot down a dispersed $1000 swarm worth of softball-size objects?

      • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday March 27 2020, @12:30PM (1 child)

        by deimtee (3272) on Friday March 27 2020, @12:30PM (#976263) Journal

        No bet. :)

        Doesn't mean that the military won't pay a shit load to use it in any area that isn't an actual battlefield.

        If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.