The FCC has responded to SpaceX’s application to link cell phones to Starlink with a set of questions, mostly centered on finding out whether the company’s system might interfere with other communications systems.
“This analysis should take into account the worst case scenario of all satellites transmitting at the same time, including different power levels required for rain fade and cloud cover as well as clear sky conditions over a particular area of coverage,” the FCC wrote.
In addition, the same analysis should look at the “possibility of loss of service by other authorized satellite and terrestrial operators in that area,” the Commission added. Another request asks SpaceX to provide “a map with projected beam coverage” for the US, showing the maximum and typical power levels of the satellite cellular service. The FCC also wants to know how the company can shut down the cellular Starlink system in the event interference arises over certain geographic areas.
The FCC’s concerns appear reasonable, but no one should dismiss the possibility that politics are involved as well. The Biden administration, which now has a majority of appointees on the FCC, has made it clear it opposes almost everything Elon Musk is doing.
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