What’s the skinny? SpaceX says due to overwhelming demand for its Starlink services, they have put in a request with the FCC to increase the number of authorized units from 1 million to 5 million.
Since the Starlink signup site went live back in June of this year, over 700,000 people submitted a request to take part in the beta trial that is slated to take place before the end of the year. I myself living in a rural area with spotty internet signed up to take part in the beta test. The site initially only requested a user email but later sent out an email stating they were updating the form to include the users service address as well. I have since not received any further contact, but hopefully once we get closer to the beta going live, I will be asked to among those taking part in the beta.
“In this application, SpaceX Services seeks a modification of its blanket earth stationlicense (call sign E190066) solely to increase the number of authorized units from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000. SpaceX Services requests this increase in authorized units due to the extraordinary demand for access to the Starlink non-geostationary orbit satellite system. Despite the fact that SpaceX has yet to formally advertise this system’s services, nearly 700,000 individuals represented in all 50 states signed up over a matter of just days to register their interest in said services at www.starlink.com. To ensure that SpaceX is able to accommodate the apparent demand for its broadband Internet access service, SpaceX Services requests a substantial increase in the number of authorized units. As required by Section 25.117(c) of the Commission’s rules, SpaceX Services certifies that none of information detailed in its original application for a blanket earth station license other than the number of units authorized under the license has changed.”
SpaceX’s Starlink has recently gained more competition as Amazon’s “Project Kuiper” has also entered the race to deliver low-latency broadband to those in desperate need of reliable, fast internet. So many of us just outside the city are living in the early 2000’s, with low bandwidth, spotty or non existent internet service.
SpaceX currently has about 540 satellites in low earth orbit and with their next upcoming launch should have around 600, which SpaceX says will allow them to begin their beta testing phase. They will eventually top out at around 12,000 low-earth orbit satellites that should provide high bandwidth, low-latency internet to rural areas around the world.
Now with Amazon’s “Project Kuiper” entering the scene, the sky is about to become heavily populated. The coming months should be interesting, as we start to see how this all shakes out. I personally am really looking forward to internet speeds that don’t belong back in the early 2000’s.