SpaceX Starlink telecom licence finally approved in Canada

SpaceX Starlink logo

Canadians are now one step closer to receiving satellite internet service from SpaceX and Starlink after their telecom licence application was recently approved.

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SpaceX first applied for the “Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) Licence” from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC) in May.

Even with over 2,500 comments in support of the application, eager Canadians have been anxiously waiting for the CRTC to approve the licence.

The decision was taking so long that one Canadian even posted an official petition to the House of Commons website. Since being posted earlier this week, it has gained over 3,000 signatures.

Those signatures may no longer be needed as the CRTC has now notified SpaceX it has approved their BITS licence five months to the day after they first applied.

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In a email dated October 15 and addressed to Bret Johnson, CFO & President of Strategic Acquisitions Groupthe CRTC says it has approved the application after considering the comments in 2,585 interventions.

The Commission received 2585 interventions regarding Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s BITS application. After consideration of the comments received, the Commission has approved the application and a BITS licence is enclosed.

Starlink has already started private beta testing of its service with employees of the company. Initial speed test show the service is already providing high speeds with low latency, with less than 1,000 of its planned 12,000 satellites in orbit.

The public beta testing program is expected to begin soon, with northern US states and much of southern Canada listed as prime testing areas earlier this year.

Here is a full copy of the letter sent to SpaceX.

Bret Johnsen
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
1 Rocket Road
Hawthorne, California  90250
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Re: Application for a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) Licence

Dear Bret Johnsen,

On 15 May 2020, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. completed an application for a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) licence for the provision of international telecommunications services, pursuant to section 16.3 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act).

The Commission received 2585 interventions regarding Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s BITS application. After consideration of the comments received, the Commission has approved the application and a BITS licence is enclosed.

Please note the BITS licence conditions, which can be viewed on the back of the enclosed licence, include regular filings to the Commission.

The Commission notes that a BITS licence does not by itself authorize an entity to operate as a facilities-based carrier or non-facilities-based service provider. All entities who provide services as a facilities-based carrier must at all times comply with the appropriate regulatory framework, including the ownership and control requirements of section 16 of the Act and the Canadian Telecommunications Common Carrier Ownership and Control Regulations. Entities who provide services as a non-facilities-based service provider must register as such with the Commission and comply at all times with the appropriate regulatory framework.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

Enclosures

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