On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission finally approved SpaceX’s plans to provide satellite broadband services in the United States.
The agency has given Elon Musk the green light to push through with his ambitious project that will offer satellite broadband services not just in the United States, but around the world.
“With this action, the Commission takes another step to increase high-speed broadband availability and competition in the United States,” the FCC said in a statement.
The approval marks the first time that the FCC has authorized a low-Earth orbit broadband service project. This will allow SpaceX to launch some 2,000 satellites that could, after that number doubles, provide the entire world with broadband.
It is indicated in the agreement that within the next six years, Musk and his space agency have permission to launch half of the total number of satellites on the alleged Starlink Internet project into space.
The approval comes as no surprise due to the project being backed by none other than FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai.
“I have asked my colleagues to join me in supporting this application and moving to unleash the power of satellite constellations to provide high-speed internet to rural Americans,” Pai was quoted as saying in a statement last month.
“If adopted, it would be the first approval given to an American-based company to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies.”
SpaceX is reportedly planning to launch operational satellites next year. In a statement to the Verge, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said:
“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.”
The Starlink constellation of satellites will reportedly offer broadband speeds comparable to the fiber optic networks that we have today. However, instead of redistributing signals, it will provide direct wireless connections to consumers. This could transform our current costly and low-reliability Internet service.