SpaceX has requested permission from the FCC to increase the number of terminals it will deploy to 5 million. Originally, SpaceX was granted a license from the FCC for 1 million terminals in March.
“SpaceX Services requests this increase in authorized units due to the extraordinary demand for access to the Starlink non-geostationary orbit satellite system,” SpaceX said in a license-change request on Friday, as reported by Ars Technica. “Despite the fact that SpaceX has yet to formally advertise this system’s services, nearly 700,000 individuals represented in all 50 states signed up over a matter of just days to register their interest in said services at www.starlink.com. To ensure that SpaceX is able to accommodate the apparent demand for its broadband Internet access service, SpaceX Services requests a substantial increase in the number of authorized units.”
Beta testing of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite-based internet service will reportedly begin soon. The beta test will include free hardware that users can install themselves. Details on the website show that initial testing will likely take place with “Northern United States and lower Canada, with those living in rural and/or remote communities in the Washington state area.”
Last week, Amazon was approved for a $10 billion satellite project that will be a direct competitor for SpaceX. “Project Kuiper” has a similar mission to SpaceX’s Starlink, to provide reliable broadband internet to underserved areas.
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