SpaceX’s plans to launch a Starlink cellular service is facing increased scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), prompting a review of potential interference concerns. The FCC’s questions to SpaceX aim to find out whether the satellite-based service will disrupt existing satellite and terrestrial networks, particularly in areas where T-Mobile operates on similar frequency bands.
In a letter to SpaceX dated November 7, 2023, the FCC is pressing SpaceX to conduct a comprehensive “interference analysis” by November 17, focusing on scenarios like inclement weather conditions and the simultaneous transmission of signals from all satellites. The regulatory body is keen on understanding the potential loss of service for other authorized satellite and terrestrial operators in areas where SpaceX plans to provide its Starlink cellular service. (via PCMag)
To visualize the impact, the FCC has requested a map with “projected beam coverage” within the licensed areas of T-Mobile, emphasizing the need to prevent interference and protect the integrity of existing communication infrastructures.
In addition to interference concerns, the FCC seeks clarity on how quickly SpaceX can “cease emissions on command” in the event of harmful interference, especially in densely populated areas with established terrestrial coverage.
SpaceX’s expedited timeline for launching the Starlink cellular service has faced opposition from major players in the US telecoms market, including DISH and AT&T. Critics argue that SpaceX is not adhering to proper regulatory procedures.
You can read the FCCs letter to SpaceX here.