Something to look forward to: SpaceX's Project Starlink could provide reliable Internet access to parts of the globe that have been cut off from the outside world due to a lack of competitive access (or access at all). Whether or not it pans out as SpaceX hopes and within its proposed timetable, however, remains to be seen.
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved the requests of SpaceX and three other companies to launch satellite systems and expand on existing services.
Space earlier this year was granted permission to launch two broadband Internet test satellites into orbit. One week later, the company did just that, sending the Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b Internet-beaming satellite prototypes into space alongside Spain's Paz Earth-observing satellite.
The test units were designed to gather information about the viability and technology needed to launch a global network of Internet-serving satellites that could blanket the entire globe.
The FCC today authorized SpaceX to construct, deploy and operate a very-low-Earth orbit constellation of more than 7,000 satellites using V-band frequencies. The Commission also granted Elon Musk’s request to add the 37.5GHz - 42.0GHz and 47.2GHz - 50.2GHz frequency bands to its previously authorized non-geostationary satellite orbit.
SpaceX’s Project Starlink could have as many as 40 million subscribers by 2025 generating in excess of $30 billion in annual revenue.
The FCC also approved access to the US market for satellites from Kepler, Telesat and LeoSat.
Additionally, the Commission proposed to further simplify and streamline its rules governing satellite communications in an effort to make the regulatory approval process for satellite licensing more efficient and less burdensome.