SpaceX is in the process of deploying a mega constellation of 12,000 satellites to form the Starlink network in order to provide a high-bandwidth, low-latency internet service.
So far, the company has launched 538 satellites into Low-Earth orbit by conducting nine flying missions to do so. Furthermore, beta service is expected to commence in the United States and Canada within the next two months, and the company is now seeking out (link to today’s earlier article) beta users to test out the service.
The federal agency that is responsible for giving regulatory approval to deploy the satellites is the Federal Communications Commission. Smart you identified the FCC
The FCC is planning to award $20.4 billion in federal funding auction for companies that will provide low-latency internet service for rural and remote areas.
What is the Federal Funding Auction?
The auction, officially dubbed the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, is divided into two phases. Phase I, which will award up to $16 billion in support over 10 years for the deployment of fixed broadband networks to homes and businesses across rural America. The auction date for Phase 1 is expected to take place on October 29, 2020.
Through Phase II, the FCC is expected to award $4.4 billion to target partially served areas.
SpaceX faces a race against time:
The funding auction will constitute an important revenue stream for SpaceX in a bid to deploy its mega constellation. In order to qualify for it, the company must provide a broadband speed of up to 1 gigabits per second.
Techcrunch reported that SpaceX must also demonstrate to the FCC that its service’s latency will be under 100 milliseconds. Companies that will qualify for the auction must submit their applications no later than July 15.
Back in 2019, Elon Musk tweeted that Starlink’s initial latency will be below 20 milliseconds, and with time, below 10 milliseconds.
So the auction is up for grabs, and SpaceX will do its best to qualify for it!