FCC approves SpaceX plan for satellite-provided internet

The Starlink network will consist of 4,425 satellites around the world.

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Steve Nesius / Reuters
Steve Nesius / Reuters

The SpaceX plan for a global wireless internet network provided by 4,425 satellites has been approved by the FCC. The $10 billion Starlink proposal calls for the satellites to launch in two phases between 2019 and 2024, then fly between 714 and 823 miles above the Earth providing a 1 Gbps connection. Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve, with the plan following similar requests by OneWeb, Space Norway, and Telesat.

In a statement, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said: "Although we still have much to do with this complex undertaking, this is an important step toward SpaceX building a next-generation satellite network that can link the globe with reliable and affordable broadband service, especially reaching those who are not yet connected."

There are still some issues to figure out, like the exact process for dealing with space debris, interference with radio telescopes and managing the distance between all of these proposed networks. You can read through the entire opinion here (PDF), or just wait for more launches of internet satellites starting next year.

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