Communications facilitated by equipment that orbits around the earth.

Iranian Protesters Struggle to Activate Starlink and Circumvent Internet Restrictions

After Elon Musk said his Starlink satellite-internet system was activated in Iran on Sept. 23, two men climbed onto the tiled roof of a residence in the Iranian city of Ahvaz and aimed a Starlink terminal into the sky. A faint signal was detected by the device for several seconds, then it disappeared. The men were seeking to help an Iranian protest movement struggling under a government crackdown on online communication, said Saeed Souzangar, a network engineer and one of the Iranian men.

Starlink and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

In August 2022, the Federal Communications Commission denied the SpaceX (Starlink) bid to receive $885 million over ten years through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The FCC went on to say in the order that there were several technical reasons for the Starlink rejection. Starlink appealed the FCC ruling. Current federal grant rules don’t allow federal subsidies to be given to any area that is slated to get another federal broadband subsidy. This has meant that the RDOF areas have been off-limits to other federal grants since the end of 2020.

SpaceX to FCC: Let Us Share Spectrum With iPhone 14 Satellite Service

SpaceX sent the message to the Federal Communications Commission after Globalstar—which is powering the iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity—urged the FCC to reject SpaceX's request for access to the 1.6/2.4GHz spectrum, which it also uses for its own satellite services. SpaceX plans on using the radio bands to power a mobile version of its Starlink satellite internet service capable of beaming data to cellular dead zones.

Elon Musk offers Iranians uncensored internet access

Elon Musk’s Starlink has activated its satellite broadband service in Iran after the US allowed private companies to offer uncensored internet access to the country amid protests that have caused more than 40 deaths. Starlink is the first in a new generation of satellite networks operating in low-Earth orbit that are designed to provide high-bandwidth internet connections from space directly to individual users. Starlink users are able to bypass a country’s terrestrial communications networks, freeing them from internet censorship.

SpaceX Is Working to Bring Starlink to School Buses

SpaceX is aiming to expand its satellite internet service Starlink to school buses in the US. The company mentioned the effort in a September 20 filing with the Federal Communications Commission.

Starlink Slowed in Q2, Competitors Mounting Challenges

There is fresh data on satellite performance during Q2 2022 in Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America. This analysis includes results from eight additional countries, two new providers, and expanded data for Starlink, HughesNet, and Viasat. Key findings in an analysis from Speedtest Intelligence data include:

Starlink and Wireless Internet Service Providers Battle for 12GHz Spectrum

A big piece of what the Federal Communications Commission does is to weigh competing claims to use spectrum. One of the latest fights, which is the continuation of a fight going on since 2018, is for the use of the 12 GHz spectrum. The big wrestling match is between Starlink’s desire to use the spectrum to communicate with its low-orbit satellites and cellular carriers and wireless internet service providers (WISPs) who want to use the spectrum for rural broadband. Starlink uses this spectrum to connect its ground-based terminals to satellites.

Starlink appeals Federal Communication Commission denial of $885 Million Rural Digital Opportunity Fund subsidy

Starlink asked the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider a decision to deny it $885.5 million in rural broadband funding.

Satellite Cell Service

T-Mobile and Starlink made a joint announcement recently about an arrangement where Starlink will enable voice and texting capabilities to T-Mobile cellphones by the end of 2023. Elon Musk touted this as being able to reach people lost in the wilderness, but the much bigger use will be to fill in cellular coverage in rural areas for T-Mobile. While the two companies made a big splashy announcement about the arrangement, they are late to the game as other industry players already have similar plans underway.

Starlink flies under the radar at public schools nationwide

Tech magnate Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink has quietly made inroads with public schools nationwide over the past two years, winning over students, families and administrators who say it’s the kind of connectivity that has been sorely lacking in some of the most rural corners of the US. Public school districts in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia have announced pilot projects or are already using Starlink to bring broadband internet service to students’ out-of-the-way homes via a network of satellites. But it’s not cheap.