SpaceX’s plan to launch a Starlink cellular service is under increased scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is reviewing potential interference concerns. The FCC’s questions to SpaceX are aimed at determining whether the satellite-based service will disrupt existing satellite and terrestrial networks, particularly in areas where T-Mobile operates on similar frequency bands.
The FCC has requested SpaceX to conduct a comprehensive “interference analysis” by November 17, specifically focusing on scenarios such as inclement weather conditions and simultaneous transmission of signals from all satellites. The regulatory body wants to understand the potential service loss for other authorized satellite and terrestrial operators in areas where SpaceX intends to provide its Starlink cellular service.
To further evaluate the impact, the FCC has asked for a map showing the “projected beam coverage” within T-Mobile’s licensed areas. This emphasizes the need to prevent interference and protect the integrity of existing communication infrastructures.
Apart from interference concerns, the FCC also seeks clarity on how quickly SpaceX can halt emissions in the event of harmful interference, especially in densely populated areas with established terrestrial coverage.
SpaceX’s expedited timeline for launching the Starlink cellular service has faced opposition from major players in the US telecoms market, including DISH and AT&T. Critics argue that SpaceX is not following proper regulatory procedures.
For more information, you can read the FCC’s letter to SpaceX.