North Pole could become a host site for a “satellite earth station,” as part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX plan to develop a global Internet network that reaches remote communities in Alaska and around the world.
SpaceX Services Inc. has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to develop an earth station to support the company’s Starlink Internet network, a global satellite system project for the broadcast of high-speed broadband Internet service. .
“Starlink is really for those who are least served,” Musk said in a tweet about his goals for the Internet service.
Other companies trying to bring the internet to communities where it’s a challenge include Alaska-based Pacific Dataport, which works with OneWeb, and Amazon’s Kuiper Systems.
Competition to provide broadband satellite service would help reduce the digital divide between connected communities and sparsely populated areas without access.
In its FCC application, SpaceX identified “Fairbanks, AK” as the site of an earth station. SpaceX has also considered earth stations at Ketchikan and Nome.
According to the coordinates provided on the FCC’s request, the earth station site is vacant land on or near an existing satellite tracking facility at the North Pole, in the borough of Fairbanks North Star. This facility is managed by the American division of the Global Swedish Space Corp., or SSC Space US
The News-Miner asked SSC Space US if the company is partnering with SpaceX for the earth station.
Anni Bölenius, Head of Communications, said this week: “It is correct that SSC Space US owns and operates a satellite station at the North Pole, but we are not commenting on any activity at the station.”
FCC approval required for the station
FCC authorization is required for SpaceX to operate a transmitting satellite earth station.
The applicant must specify the frequency bands and satellites to be used by the earth station, the antenna diameter and the proposed power and power density levels, the FCC said in an emailed statement to News-Miner. .
“SpaceX Services is seeking clearance for a new Ka-band gateway earth station located in Fairbanks, AK,” according to the FCC app.
Local zoning rules allow communication facilities without a zoning permit, said Christine Nelson, who heads the community planning department for the Borough of Fairbanks North Star.
SpaceX sets up earth stations, also known as ground stations, around the world to communicate with its satellites. Satellites fly in low earth orbit to enable faster internet service because the signal has a shorter distance to travel. Earth station antennas are remotely controlled to transmit and receive data, according to the FCC application. Earth stations are linked to data centers that connect to the World Wide Web.
“SpaceX is eager to connect sites on Earth where the Internet connection is unreliable and non-existent,” according to Tesmanian, who reports on SpaceX and other Musk companies.
Global internet service for consumers around the world
SpaceX launches thousands of satellites to provide global Internet service.
In January, a rocket carried 10 satellites into polar orbit, as part of a test and development phase to facilitate Internet access in remote areas including Alaska. This week, the FCC granted a request for SpaceX to fly 2,814 satellites into a lower orbit, allowing faster Internet service in the Arctic region.
Several Alaskan individuals, businesses and organizations have submitted letters requesting approval from ‘SpaceX to begin deployment of its Starlink service in Alaska,’ the FCC said in an order and clearance issued April 27.
Consumers in remote areas of Alaska, including members of tribal communities, discussed “the scarcity of reliable Internet service, the extreme expense of available Internet service, the difficulties in maintaining this service and the that this has on the communities of Alaska, ”according to the FCC mentioned.
“They say the Starlink service will finally bring ubiquitous Internet connectivity to these regions.”
The Starlink Internet network, which is in beta mode, is operational in many parts of the United States and abroad.
Consumers can access unlimited broadband and broadband service, for $ 100 per month, after the initial purchase of a small dish with a WiFi router, bracket, and cables for $ 500, which the company ships to subscribers. .
In February, Government Technology reported that Starlink was allowing Alaskans to sign up for the service, ahead of delivery, scheduled for 2022.
“Starlink is ideally suited to regions of the globe where connectivity has typically been a challenge,” according to the Starlink website.
“Not limited by traditional ground-based infrastructure, Starlink can provide high-speed, high-speed Internet access to places where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.”
Contact political reporter Linda F. Hersey at 459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.