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FCC Gives SpaceX Go Ahead for Space-Borne Broadband Internet Access

“This is an important step toward SpaceX building a next-generation satellite network,” said SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell

WASHINGTON — On March 30, the FCC gave formal approval to a plan by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a global broadband network using satellites. The system proposed by SpaceX will be comprised of 4,425 satellites using frequencies in the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) bands.

SpaceX wants to create a “global communications system” that Musk, SpaceX’s president, compared to “rebuilding the internet in space.” It would be faster than traditional internet connections, he said, according to Reuters.

[Read more about SpaceX’s broadband plans here.]

Over the past year, the commission has approved requests by OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat to access the U.S. market to provide broadband services using satellite technology that the FCC says “holds promise to expand internet access in remote and rural areas across the country.” 

About 14 million rural Americans and 1.2 million Americans on tribal lands lack mobile broadband even at relatively slow speeds. 

“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 Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said, in the same article.