SpaceX is seeking approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconfigure its satellites to beam Starlink broadband from space.
SpaceX, the commercial space company founded by Elon Musk, plans to deploy a constellation of internet-providing satellites called Starlink. By the end of 2020, we might see the commercialization of Starlink broadband across the southern United States.
“This adjustment will accelerate coverage to southern states and U.S. territories, potentially expediting coverage to the southern continental United States by the end of the next hurricane season and reaching other U.S. territories by the following hurricane season,” SpaceX said in an application filed on Aug. 30 and accepted last week.
If SpaceX follows the schedule, Starlink could be available across 48 contiguous US states by November 2020, when next year’s hurricane season ends.
A report published by Morgan Stanley on Tuesday estimates that SpaceX broadband would turn the company into a $52 billion giant. Starlink would add about $20 billion to its current valuation, and potentially making SpaceX the most valuable private company in the US.
Over the past week, SpaceX has laid out plans to launch a “much higher” number of rockets in 2020 than this year’s projected max of 18. The space company is currently seeking permission from regulators to rearrange its planned constellation, dubbed Starlink, in a way that it would allow fewer satellites to cover more territory.
Starlink could grow to include US territories, such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. One of the key benefits of this technology is that internet access doesn’t get knocked offline due to bad weather. Ground-based services still don’t reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-reach places.
According to the FCC, more than 24 million Americans lack access to speedy broadband (at least 25Mpbs in download speed and 3 Mbps for upload speed). While half of the global population lacks internet access entirely.
An innovative service like Starlink’s could translate into billions of dollars in SpaceX’s pocket each year.