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FCC approves SpaceX and Kepler Ku-band licences

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved applications from SpaceX and Kepler Communications to operate Ku-band Earth stations in motion (ESIM) and on vessels (ESV).

In an authorisation from the office of international bureau chief, Tom Sullivan, it stated that, "We agree with SpaceX and Kepler that the public interest would benefit by granting with conditions their applications."

In their applications, both SpaceX and Kepler propose using the 14.0-14.5GHz band to transmit earth to space, and the 10.7-12.7GHz band (including 12.2-12.7 GHz band), to receive space-to-Earth.

Specifically, SpaceX's ESIM license will enable it to operate an unlimited number of consumer and enterprise end-user earth stations in the Ku-band, which in turn would communicate with its Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) low earth orbit satellite constellation.

"Authorising a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a US port, or while on a domestic or international flight," added Sullivan.

Conversely, Keplers ESV license will enable it to operate an unlimited number of end-user ESVs in US territorial waters and aboard US-registered vessels in international waters using Ku-band frequencies, ultimately serving underserved maritime regions.

As part of its application, Kepler has agreed to spectrum sharing and has guaranteed that its transmissions will conform to the relevant power flux density and equivalent power flux density levels outlined in Articles 21 and 22 and Resolution 76 of the International Telecommunications Union radio regulations. It has also agreed that it will not exceed emissions limitations or radio frequency radiation hazards limits.

"Similarly, authorisation of the Kepler ESVs service will provide much-needed connectivity to vessels in territorial waters of Hawaii and Alaska and remote areas throughout the world, including the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions," conclude Sullivan.

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