FCC is looking at freeing up additional spectrum for Starlink and Project Kuiper

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) updated its rules yesterday to permit higher-orbiting geostationary satellites to use the 17 GHz band.

The 17 GHz band was previously used for TV broadcasts, but the FCC is now opening it up a little more.

However, the FCC also confirmed that it is considering opening up the 17 GHz band even more to give access to non-geostationary satellites, including Starlink.

During this consideration period, the FCC is asking for comment on how it should allocate the spectrum without disrupting current users.

The FCC is also welcoming technical studies.

In April, SpaceX and Amazon sent letters to the FCC in support of opening up the 17 GHz band.

Amazon noted in its letter that:

[The 17 GHz band would] provide more reliable connectivity to benefit Americans.

While SpaceX stated in its letter:

SpaceX agrees with Amazon that timely access to the 17GHz band is critical to enable satellite operators to meet the growing demand of American consumers for next-generation broadband connectivity wherever they are.

Yesterday, Amazon Public Policy tweeted out that they were happy about the FCC’s decision to consider expanding access in the 17 GHz band.

It should be interesting to see if there are any genuine objectors to the 17 GHz band like we have seen on the 12 GHz band, as it is not only SpaceX pushing for better access.

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