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SpaceX Approved to Deploy 1 Million U.S. Starlink Terminals; OneWeb Reportedly Considers Bankruptcy

Accepted submission by takyon at 2020-03-24 23:23:48
Techonomics

SpaceX gets FCC license for 1 million satellite-broadband user terminals [arstechnica.com]

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 [arstechnica.com] the Federal Communications Commission for the license in February 2019, and the FCC announced its approval in a public notice [fcc.gov] last week. The FCC approval [fcc.gov] 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 [teslarati.com]

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 [bloomberg.com]. 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 [theverge.com]

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


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