In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile, Spectrum

More evidence of new interest in low earth orbit satellite constellations to provide Internet access: Space X has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to create and launch a new constellation of LEO satellites.

The low earth orbit satellite constellation likely would be aimed at potential customers anywhere on the globe where traditional fixed or mobile facilities are expensive to create or non-existent.

The proposed Space X constellation would change Space X from a launch company to an Internet service provider.

Orbiting the earth at just an altitude of around 750 miles, the new constellation would orbit at lower than conventional communications satellites at 22,000 miles.

That has huge implications for bandwidth and latency, potentially enabling bandwidth between 50 Mbps and gigabits for any specific end user, a huge and qualitative advance over what has been possible in the past.

In a non-related development, Facebook and Google reportedly have abandoned potential plans to launch their own geosynchronous satellites for Internet access services. One might argue the upsurge in LEO plans makes geosynchronous a largely non-competitive alternative, in terms of the amount of bandwidth any single customers can get, at any specific hard-to-reach location.

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