The United States agency in charge of regulating interstate and international communications through cable, radio, television, satellite and wire, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given aerospace company, Boeing the permission to launch its own 132 low-Earth satellites orbiting at an altitude of 1,056 kilometres, while the other 15 will be non-geostationary, meaning they follow the rotation of the Earth, according to the filing.
With Boeing having six years to launch half of the satellites swarm, the company had asked the commission permission to extend the nine years initially agreed required to build the rest of its satellite constellation to twelve years but the commission did not approve the extension.
Rival aerospace company, Starlink will now face more competition in the satellite broadband market with Boeing approval as Americans in the less urban areas will have more providers to make their options from. Boeing is offering its broadband services to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as it begins the building out of its network, while planning to expand its satellite internet service globally.
Starlink parent company, SpaceX had earlier in the year filed a petition against Boeing 2017 application submission to the FCC, claiming that the deployment plan by the Chicago-based company would interfere with its satellites and crowd the lower orbit of the Earth, a suit the FCC struck out.
Boeing has some advantages over the Starlink network, especially when it comes to faster data transfer rates. According to Boeing, 147 of its satellites can broadcast in the fifth band, the high-frequency radio spectrum, and if we are to note this, Starlink uses the Ka- and Ku- bands, which commercial airlines use to access in-flight internet- the difference is clear.
Boeing and Starlink are not the only ones serenading the aerospace market, as they have other competitors like Amazon, who is believed to be putting finishing touches to the launching of two of its satellites in late 2022, a part of the Kuiper broadband satellite project effort, approved by the FCC in 2020.
Other competitors are existing satellite internet providers like HughesNet, Viasat, and OneWeb who are no push-over in the aerospace industry.
Competition itself is not a bad thing, provided its healthy and allows the populace to choose who they desire as this would enable the companies provide viable satellite broadband in a bid to outsmart themselves, while narrowing the digital divide.