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Boeing Close to Approval for Broadband Satellite Array

October 12, 2021 by Dan McCue
A Boeing Satellite. (Boeing Photo)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is poised to consider an application from Boeing to launch and run an array of broadband satellites.

Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel circulated a proposal for voting on Boeing’s application last week.

Industry watchers have said the fact Rosenworcel went so far as to advance the proposal suggests it has or nearly has the votes to win approval.

If so, that approval has been a long time coming.

Boeing first filed its application seeking FCC approval to deploy a V-band array of 147 satellites in low Earth orbit in 2017.

At the time it said the array, working in conjunction with non-geostationary orbiting satellites, would greatly improve broadband internet access, particularly across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The application inspired some pushback from the industry, particularly from Elon Musk, who said in a letter to the FCC that Boeing’s proposal would create “harmful interference” for other system operators.

Musk’s SpaceX is a major player in the field. 

In late April, the FCC approved a SpaceX plan to deploy some 2,814 Starlink satellites at a lower earth orbit than planned as part of its push to offer space-based broadband internet.

The agency also modified SpaceX’s license by reducing its total number of satellites deployed for this purpose by one, from 4,409 to 4,408.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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