US Federal Communications Commission has approved Amazonís request to operate a constellation of roughly 3,200 internet satellites (Project Kuiper) in low Earth orbit. Amazon will invest $10 billion - the same amount SpaceX intend to invest in its rival constellation Starlink. pic.twitter.com/dQGIcupq6y— Insta Science (@insta_science) August 3, 2020
SpaceX has requested permission from the US, with almost 700,000 people in the country registered interests on the service, to deploy up to 5 million users terminals for its Starlink satellite broadband networks in the United States.
The Federal Communications Commission licensed SpaceX in the United States in March for up to 1 million user terminals (that is, satellite dishes). So 1 million homes can receive this service, but SpaceX will now quintuple it.
The company told the FCC on Friday in a request to change the licences that it requested "SpaceX Services requested the increase of the authorised units due to a very large demand for Starlink non-geostationary orbit-satellite system. "To ensure that SpaceX is in a state of affairs that is able to meet the apparent demand for its broadband Internet Access Services, SpaceX Services requests a significant increase to the number of people that sign up in just a few days to sign up for SpaceX services on www.starlink.com.
In mid-June, the SpaceX registration form was added to the Starlink website. SpaceX has indicated that it will offer beta access in the fall of this year to prepare for a full commercial launch. It will be available for the publication of the email and street address to "updates on Starlink news and services available in your area."
The 700 000 registered buyers have not committed themselves to anything, but Starlink will probably have many potential buyers in the United States among people with no fibre or cordless Internet access, or who have no other options or are stuck with a single provider.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said recently that Starlink is facing a few physical limitations on how many homes it can serve, in densely populous areas like Los Angeles. "We 're going to have a little number at LA. But we're not going to have many LA customers, because the bandwidth per cell just isn't big enough," he said. In rural areas, Starlink would not face these restrictions as Musk said that "Starlink will serve the hardest-to-serve customers who would otherwise find it hard for telcos to use landlines or even cell towers."
SpaceX is FCC-enabled to launch almost 12,000 low-Earth satellites that allow significantly lower latency than traditional satellite services. SpaceX has started 540 Starlink satellites so far and will increase that number to around 600 with its next launch.
Amazon was approved by the U.S. last week for its similar "Project Kuiper" broadband service to launch a 3,236 low-earth orbiting satellites.