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SpaceX Moves Closer to Proving Satellite-Based Broadband

Musk said the company wants to create a “global communications system”

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — SpaceX has been in the news a lot as of late—for good reasons. Now, add another: FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed the approval of an application by SpaceX to provide broadband services using satellites in the United States and worldwide, reports Reuters.

Elon Musk said during a 2015 speech in Seattle that SpaceX planned to launch a satellite-internet business that would help fund a future city on Mars. He said the company wanted to create a “global communications system” that he compared to “rebuilding the internet in space.” It would also be faster than “traditional” internet connections, according to Musk.

Pai said after a staff review he was urging approval for SpaceX. “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,” he said, quoted in the same article.

And SpaceX is not the only company looking to add space borne broadband systems. Over the past year, the FCC has approved requests by OneWeb, Space Norway, and Telesat to access the U.S. market to provide broadband services using satellite technology. The approvals are the first of their kind, the FCC said, for “a new generation of large, non-geostationary satellite orbit, fixed-satellite service systems.” Other requests are in the pipeline as well.