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The FCC chair wants to approve SpaceX’s ambitious plans for satellite internet

Ajit Pai, the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, has made an interesting request to the agency’s other four members: He wants them to approve SpaceX’s ambitious plan to deploy a mass of satellites, which would beam broadband internet back to earth. To bridge the #digitaldivide, esp. in hard-to-reach areas, we'll have to be … Continue reading “The FCC chair wants to approve SpaceX’s ambitious plans for satellite internet”

The FCC chair wants to approve SpaceX’s ambitious plans for satellite internet
[Photo: Lance Cheung/ U.S. Department of Agriculture/Wikimedia Commons]

Ajit Pai, the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, has made an interesting request to the agency’s other four members: He wants them to approve SpaceX’s ambitious plan to deploy a mass of satellites, which would beam broadband internet back to earth.

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Pai tweeted his intentions this morning, writing that, “To bridge the digital divide, esp. in hard-to-reach areas, we’ll have to be innovative.”

The SpaceX project was first proposed in early 2015. It could eventually consist of as many as 4,425 satellites and cost at least $10 billion, Forbes reported in November. The Los Angeles Times says that Elon Musk’s company could launch prototypes of its satellites as early as this weekend.

“The two satellites, known as Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, are set to launch as the so-called secondary payload on Saturday’s Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,” the Times wrote, citing a February 1 letter to the FCC from a SpaceX executive. The Times says the letter was submitted to the agency on Monday.

If SpaceX’s proposal is adopted, Pai wrote in a release, it would be the first time an American company has been granted approval to deploy low-Earth-orbit satellites for the purposes of providing broadband services.

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About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications

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