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SpaceX's plans to become a global ISP took a big step forward after Ajit Pai – the boss of America's comms watchdog, the FCC – gave his blessing for Elon Musk's biz to pop broadband-beaming satellites into orbit.
The rocketry upstart wants to build a network of low-Earth orbit birds named Starlink that will provide high-speed internet connectivity around the world using radio links to ground transceivers.
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The US spacefaring shop asked for permission to launch up to 12,000 satellites to form this internet-sharing constellation. On Wednesday this week, Pai, and his two Republican FCC commissioners that do his bidding, indicated the plan is a goer.
"Following careful review of this application by our International Bureau's excellent 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," Pai said in a statement.
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"If adopted, it would be the first approval given to an American-based company to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies."
The Starlink network may get Pai out of a bit of a spot. Broadband deployment sucks in America compared to the rest of the advanced industrialized world. The FCC boss hoped to fudge that by tweaking the definition of broadband, a move which would have painted US ISPs in a more positive light. However, that caper was dropped after a storm of protest.
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At the same time, Pai's...
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