SpaceX says 57 of its 60 broadband data satellites are now communicating with their ground stations — and that this grants them special privileges when other companies launch their own satellite telecommunication networks.
An anonymous reader quotes GeekWire:
In an emailed update, SpaceX said Starlink is ready to go into a testing phase that involves streaming videos and playing video games via satellite…. “Now that the majority of the satellites have reached their operational altitude, SpaceX will begin using the constellation to start transmitting broadband signals, testing the latency and capacity by streaming videos and playing some high-bandwidth video games using gateways throughout North America,” SpaceX said… SpaceX said “Starlink is now the first NGSO [non-geosynchronous satellite orbit] system to operate in the Ku-band and communicate with U.S. ground stations, demonstrating the system’s potential to provide fast, reliable internet to populations around the world.”
That statement isn’t intended merely as a marketing boast: In documents filed earlier this month with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX says its “first to operate” status with the FCC means it can “select its frequencies first” if there’s a conflict with other satellite telecommunication networks in low Earth orbit. SpaceX’s claim on that score has set off a flurry of regulatory filings from its rivals in the market for satellite broadband services, including the international OneWeb consortium and Canada’s biggest satellite operator, Telesat.
In one of this month’s filings, OneWeb charged that SpaceX was being “irresponsible” by going ahead with a Ku-band system under conditions that would interfere with OneWeb’s previously launched [six] satellites. But SpaceX shrugged off OneWeb’s objections, as well as Kepler’s. It said neither OneWeb nor Kepler qualified for the FCC’s first-choice status because their ground stations weren’t in the U.S… The exchange of FCC filings illustrates how tangled the regulatory environment for satellite internet broadband services can get. And things could get even more tangled if additional players including Amazon and Boeing join the fray.