The FCC has officially granted SpaceX a license to launch and operate a slew of low-orbit satellites meant to provide broadband. The plan has been in the works for a while now, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk started engaging in serious talks with the FCC to get the project off the ground (you know that pun was intended), officially applying for a license in 2017. More specifically, the license is meant to allow SpaceX’s project to operate on a portion of the FCC-regulated broadband spectrum which is not currently being used.
SpaceX plans to eventually have 12,000 of these satellites orbiting the Earth by the time the project reaches its climax, the first two of which took off in February. As of right now, it looks like the company plans on launching 4,425 satellites to start, with the FCC requiring them to launch at least half of those within the next six years.
An FCC spokesperson told CNBC, “With this action, the Commission takes another step to increase high-speed broadband availability and competition in the United States.”
SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell told The Verge,
We appreciate the FCC’s thorough review and approval of SpaceX’s constellation license. Although we still have much to do with this complex undertaking, this is an important step toward SpaceX building a next-generation satellite network that can link the globe with reliable and affordable broadband service, especially reaching those who are not yet connected.
SpaceX has entitled the project Starlink, and they believe it could obtain 40 million subscribers by 2025, this bringing in about $30 billion in revenue, according to a 2017 report by The Wall Street Journal.
It’ll definitely be a few years before we start seeing any real results, but this is a seriously exciting step forward in the furthering off providing internet access to people all around the world.
[via The Verge]