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The competition heats up: SpaceX today filed an FCC application for the construction and launch of a 4,425-satellite constellation designed to provide internet access worldwide.
In the technical information that accompanied its application, SpaceX said it would start commercial broadband service with 800 satellites. That service would cover areas of the globe from 15 degrees north to 60 degrees north, and from 15 degrees south to 60 degrees south. That leaves out some portions of Alaska, which would require a temporary waiver from the FCC.
Eventually, the network would grow to 4,425 satellites, transmitting in the Ku and Ka frequency bands. “Once fully deployed, the SpaceX system will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,” SpaceX said.
When Musk first proposed this last year, he said it would take about $10 billion and five years to get it built. So, don’t expect these satellites to fly tomorrow. A lot of other things must happen first before this new plan takes flight.