Boeing receives FCC approval to launch satellite internet network

The skies above us are getting busier every day and now yet another firm has received approval to launch a network of internet satellites.

The Federal Communications Commission in the US has approved an application from Boeing to construct, deploy and operate a satellite constellation. This application was opposed by SpaceX which claimed that Boeing’s satellites would interfere with its network, but the FCC seemingly didn’t think this was that big of an issue.

The Boeing network will deploy 132 low Earth orbit satellites that will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 1 056km. Another 15 satellites will orbit Earth, following its rotation at between 22 355km and 44 221km.

At first Boeing will offer broadband to the US, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands at first before expanding to the rest of the globe. There is no fixed timeline for this project as yet but according to a report by Gizmodo, Boeing has six years to launch half of its network and nine years to complete the network.

While Boeing is perhaps most well know for building aircraft, it does also build satellites. The firm has even constructed satellites in the past including satellites that provide internet connectivity for firms such as Eutelsat.

While this is all good and well, we have to address the fact that many firms lobbying to throw satellites into orbit for internet connectivity are currently limiting connectivity to the US. While we understand these are US firms, the idea that there is no word on international connectivity is worrying.

Beyond that, the FCC has a say in how these companies operate in the US but how firms like SpaceX, Amazon, Boeing and others will operate in other countries is an unknown quantity at this stage.

We love the idea of satellite internet, but right now it seems very much like an American solution for Americans. We’re happy to be proven wrong though and perhaps we really just need to be more patient.

[Image – Boeing]


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