Elon Musk’s Broadband-From-Space Plan Clears Crucial U.S. Hurdle

Todd Shields and Dana Hull writing at Bloomberg Technology

Elon Musk’s SpaceX moved closer to another orbital frontier as regulators advanced its application to launch a low-orbit constellation of satellites and join a jostling field of operators trying to cash in on broadband service from space.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday recommended the agency approve Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s application to provide broadband services using satellite technologies in the U.S. and on a global basis. The proposal now goes to Pai’s four fellow commissioners for consideration at the agency which earlier approved three international operators for satellite-broadband operations: OneWeb, Space Norway AS and Telesat Canada.

“To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies,” Pai said in an emailed statement. “Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.”

Full Article HERE.

The broadband project is to get an early test component on Saturday [Feb 17th], when SpaceX is slated to launch a pair of demonstration satellites, known as Microsat-2a and -2b, to test a broadband antenna to be included in the proposed constellation, according to a SpaceX document filed with the FCC. The rocket to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California also will carry Spain’s PAZ satellite.

Low Altitude satellites avoid the delay issues involved with the current satellite internet services.  The big downside of current satellite broadband has been data caps. It is hard to use videos for entertainment, health, and education when you are constantly bumping into data caps.


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