SpaceX seeks satellite broadband license from FCC

SpaceX satelliteSpace Exploration Holdings, doing business as SpaceX, has sought approval from the FCC to provide broadband services using satellite technologies in the United States and on a global basis.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai is supporting the move by SpaceX.

If adopted, it would be the first approval given to an American-based company to provide broadband services using low-Earth orbit satellite technology.

The FCC has earlier approved similar requests by OneWebSpace Norway and Telesat to access the United States market to provide broadband services using satellite technology that will expand Internet access in remote and rural areas.

“To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies.  SpaceX’s application—along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S. market for non-geostationary satellite orbit systems—involves one such innovation,” Ajit Pai said.

Ajit Pai said satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. Satellite-based Internet can offer more competition to terrestrial Internet.

“Following review of this application by our International Bureau’s satellite engineering experts, I have asked my colleagues to join me in supporting this application and moving to unleash the power of satellite constellations to provide high-speed Internet to rural Americans,” Ajit Pai said.

CNBC reports that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has revealed that a maxed-out version of the company’s new Falcon Heavy rocket rocket would cost $150 million per launch. That is a quarter of a billion dollars less than SpaceX’s next closest competitor.