Starlink wants to offer mobile broadband via its satellites

Starlink has sent an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide mobile satellite service in the 2 GHz band.

In the filing, SpaceX requests permission to modify its existing Gen1 non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) fixed-satellite service (FSS) license to permit operations in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200MHz bands to provide mobile-satellite service (MSS).

The company said that because they propose to include 2GHz NGSO MSS transceivers as a modular payload on its licensed Gen1 NGSO FSS system, it would not increase the number of satellites in orbit.

It also means existing Starlink satellites don’t support the technology yet, and SpaceX would need to add the module to extend their functionality.

While it is unclear how mobile users would connect to the satellites, the company has hinted at using a portable device.

“Americans have grown accustomed to being able to connect using small, hand-held devices that they can carry with them or affix to mobile platforms,” SpaceX said in its filing.

The system will communicate with SpaceX’s existing fixed satellite ground infrastructure and user terminals.

SpaceX said that its acquisition of Swarm Technologies in 2021 has enabled expansion into the mobile services market.

Due to its low altitudes, the 2GHz mobile-satellite service promises consumers unnoticeable sub-50 millisecond latency.

SpaceX also said the low altitude at which the proposed system operates achieves a high degree of frequency reuse, significantly improving its data capacity.

“After evaluating the current use of the 2 GHz band, SpaceX has concluded that it can leverage its technology and its rapid deployment to operate an NGSO MSS system to serve consumers in the band without substantially affecting other licensed operators,” according to the application.

SpaceX said that approval of the application would let the company provide next-generation services to underserved and unserved areas across the US and globally.

Now read: Elon Musk’s Starlink achieves complete coverage of Earth

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Starlink wants to offer mobile broadband via its satellites