What do you think about your options as an internet provider? If you are not wild with them, you can get a new alternative within a few years, thanks to the ever-innovative Elon Musk. His company SpaceX recently announced a plan to bring a total of 12,000 satellites into near-earth orbit. The idea is to provide broadband connections to areas without good broadband service and to offer a faster Internet service than satellite providers can today.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, most satellite services have a latency of 600 milliseconds. SpaceX's Starlink service has a latency of 25 to 35 milliseconds, comparable to cable or fiber Internet services. According to the FCC'sorder to approve the first 4,425 satellites SpaceX wants to put into relatively higher orbit, "by granting this application, SpaceX will be able to provide consumers with a fast, reliable and affordable broadband service in the United States and around the world, including areas that are underserved or not yet served by existing networks. "
Not completely free from home.
The approval is a big milestone for SpaceX, but it's not a complete deal yet. First, SpaceX may have to deal with other satellite operators who have expressed concerns that Starlink satellites are operating too close to their own. For example, Oneweb asked for a buffer zone that, according to the FCC regulation, "is unclear and could be interpreted to require a buffer zone spanning heights between 1
OneWeb has not provided any legal or technical justification for a buffer zone of this size. While we are concerned about the risk of collisions between the space stations of NGSO systems operating at similar orbital altitudes, we think that these concerns are best dealt with first through coordination between the operators.
In other words, play nice. If this were not the case, the FCC would intervene at its sole discretion.
Another condition of the FCC approval is that SpaceX also receive the approval of the International Telecommunications Union for the company's equivalent power density limit demonstration. And since the ITU regulates satellite usage worldwide, SpaceX also needs separate permits from this site.
A bigger consideration is what to do about the growing problem of space debris as more and more satellites and other objects are left in space. Some areas of space, according to some experts, are at risk of becoming unusable. SpaceX's planned 12,000 satellites are set to nearly double, and there are other satellite companies seeking permits to bring more satellites into orbit. SpaceX provided some details on how it would de-orbit its satellites, but the FCC does not think it's good enough. He said in order:
Pending further investigation, it would be too early to allow SpaceX on the basis of its current plan to reduce space debris. Accordingly, we consider it appropriate to condition the issuance of SpaceX's application for approval by the Commission of an updated description of the orbital mitigation plans for its system.
And there is one more condition: The FCC knows who it is to deal with. In its request, SpaceX said it planned to get all satellites in orbit in 2024. But this is Elon Musk we are talking about, and anyone who keeps track of the deeds of his various companies (or pre-orders a Tesla Model 3) knows how often his projections about when something will happen will slip away. FCC approval therefore requires SpaceX to install 50 percent of the original 4,425 satellites by March 2024 and the rest by March 2027. Otherwise, the company may need to reapply for approval.
In the meantime, SpaceX has also said that 7,500 additional "very close to earth" satellites must be launched at a height of just 335 to 346 kilometers to increase capacity and reduce latency in densely populated areas. No permits or start plans for these so far.