The Federal Communications Commission granted SpaceX a license today to operate a series of broadband internet satellites, marking the first time that the government agency has given the green light to a low-earth orbit broadband service with US license. Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of SpaceX, has been discussing a microsatellite constellation to provide broadband Internet for years, and in 2017 the company began accelerating its efforts by meeting regularly with the FCC and requesting a license that would allow it to operate in a unused portion of the broadband spectrum regulated by the FCC. The company plans to call the Starlink service.
Earlier this year, SpaceX released the first two of its planned constellation of 12,000 satellites. It appears that the company is starting with a matrix of 4,425 satellites, and the FCC requires that it launch at least half of those units in the next six years. "With this action, the Commission goes one step further to increase the availability and competition of high-speed broadband in the United States," the FCC said in a statement to CNBC. SpaceX is scheduled to begin launching operational satellites for the network starting next year, when it competes face-to-face with competing space Internet provider OneWeb.
"We appreciate the FCC's comprehensive review and approval of the SpaceX constellation license, although we still have a lot to do with this complex company, this is an important step towards SpaceX to build a next-generation satellite network that can connect the world with A reliable and affordable broadband service, especially for those who are not yet connected, "Gwynne Shotwell, said the president and COO of SpaceX in a statement. SpaceX expects Starlink to become a major revenue generator that can help offset the costs of R & D and operations for the rocket company. The financial projections, released by The Wall Street Journal last year, show that SpaceX expects more than 40 million subscribers for Starlink in 2025, which equates to some $ 30 billion in revenue.