Musk’s “Starlink” plan has made another important progress

On Tuesday (April 27), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use a closer-to-ground orbit for its Starlink satellite to improve broadband speeds and latency for the global Internet while more easily minimizing orbital debris.

Upon review, we agree with SpaceX that the orbit modification will improve the user experience of SpaceX services, including addressing the frequent underservicing of polar regions,” the FCC statement said. We concluded that the lower elevation angle of its ground station antennas and the lower altitude of its satellites would improve network speed and latency, resulting in a better user experience.”

The FCC on Tuesday approved SpaceX’s request to lower the altitude of its 2,814 satellites, allowing them to operate in the 540-570 kilometer range.

The department said the changes around SpaceX “do not create significant interference issues” and rejected objections from Dish Network, Amazon subsidiary Kuiper and other satellite companies that charged that letting SpaceX change orbital altitude would cause too much interference with other systems.

“Our action will allow SpaceX to implement safety-focused changes to the deployment of its satellite fleet in order to provide broadband service throughout the United States for the convenience of users who live in areas with inadequate or no signal,” the FCC said.

Starlink is SpaceX’s international satellite Internet service program, which aims to provide interconnection to areas that so have a clear view of the sky through the placement of satellites in near-Earth orbit.

According to the Starlink program’s official website, the program is offering beta service domestically and internationally, and is poised to grow to near-global population coverage by 2021.

“Starlink is ideally suited for areas with challenging signal links on a global scale. Unrestricted by traditional terrestrial infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband Internet to places where signals are unreliable or completely inaccessible (to the network),” a statement on the official website noted.