FCC puts Boeing satellites to vote

11 October 2021 | Saf Malik

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now assessing an application from Boeing that could see it launch and operate 147 satellites to provide broadband access.

On Friday, interim chair of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel, cofirmed that Boeing's application had been circulated for a vote. 

Boeing’s request was first submitted to the FCC in 2017 and was made with the aim of providing fast broadband internet services to its consumers, government users and professions in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

The company was seeking approval to deploy a V-band Constellation using low earth orbit (LEO) and non-geostationary orbit satellites in order to do so. 

However, the plan was met with opposition from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2019. Musk claimed it posed a “clear risk of malicious interference with other systems” and added that he hoped the FCC would “at a minimum impose appropriate conditions to ensure that Boeing’s operations do not harm those of other” operators. 

In April, the FCC voted to approve Musk’s own plan to deploy Starlink satellites into low earth orbit as part of a $10 billion effort to offer broadband to a wider consumer base.

SpaceX has applied for approval from the commission to carry 2,824 satellites and the company plans to eventually deploy 12,000 according to Reuters. 

Most recently, the FCC announced that it will open a $1.9 billion programme to reimburse mostly rural telecoms carriers for removing network equipment from Chinese companies.

The programme will open on 29 October through 14 January 2022 and aims to phase equipment from Chinese carriers out of the US.