Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Aug 1, 2019:
Establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund – The FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would propose to adopt a two-phase reverse auction framework for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, committing $20.4 billion in high-cost universal service support to bring high-speed broadband service to millions of unserved Americans.
This April, I joined President Donald Trump at a White House event, where I announced my plans to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a modernized approach for connecting the hardest-to-serve corners of our country. Today, I’m circulating a proposal to formally establish this program. If adopted, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will mark the Federal Communications Commission’s single biggest step yet to close the rural digital divide and will connect millions more rural homes and small businesses to high-speed broadband networks.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to speak with you today about the US satellite industry—and specifically how the Federal Communications Commission is promoting American innovation and investment in orbit.
Amazon is seeking government permission to launch 3,236 broadband satellites that would cover nearly all of the US and much of the rest of the world.
SpaceX's goal is to sell broadband internet service delivered by more than 1,000 small satellites. But industry experts say the company’s biggest challenge is financial. SpaceX must drive down the cost of sophisticated hardware and software to the point where it can deliver fast, reliable internet service at a price point that competes with cable or fiber-delivered broadband services, while finding enough underserved markets to provide scale.
SpaceX has launched 60 little satellites, the first of thousands that founder Elon Musk plans to put in orbit for global internet coverage. Musk said that all 60 flat-panel satellites were deployed and were online a few hundred miles above Earth. Musk says 12 launches of 60 satellites each will provide high-speed internet coverage throughout the US. Twenty-four launches will serve most of the populated world, and 30 launches the entire world. That will be 1,800 satellites in total, with more planned after that.
SpaceX’s plans are set to jump forward May 16 with a launch of 60 internet-beaming satellites. But don’t count out solar-powered, high-altitude drones — or giant balloons. Advances in solar-cell and battery technology have made those technologies more feasible. In April, Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank said it would partner with Simi Valley drone maker AeroVironment Inc to build a drone capable of flying to the stratosphere, hovering around an area for months and serving as a floating cell tower to beam internet to users on Earth.
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company, is planning to launch 60 of its own satellites in a single launch expected May 15, the first of more than 4,000 spacecraft planned for the Starlink network. If successful, the flight will make SpaceX the frontrunner in a tight race to be the first operator of an internet satellite network, as SpaceX is the only competitor with its own rockets. SpaceX is one of several, including OneWeb, Telesat and even Amazon, that are investing in plans to launch thousands of satellites that aim to deliver internet connections to customers below.
Two areas that I see as evolving and critical to the continued success of the satellite industry – spectrum access and public advocacy. The spectrum challenges we face are not limited to the satellite sector, and we have to think bigger in our interconnected spectrum economy. That’s why in October, President Trump directed the Secretary of Commerce, working through NTIA, to develop and implement a comprehensive, balanced and forward-looking National Spectrum Strategy.
The Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX’s request to fly a large swath of its internet-beaming satellites at a lower orbit than originally planned. The approval was a major regulatory hurdle the company needed to clear in order to start launching its first operational satellites from Florida in May 2019. Under SpaceX’s original agreement with the FCC, the company had permission to launch 4,425 Starlink satellites into orbits that ranged between 1,110 to 1,325 kilometers up.