Boeing has been given permission to deploy satellites that can beam the internet from space. The aerospace company will be one of a growing number of firms trying to achieve the same goal, with SpaceX leading the way by deploying over 1,600 satellites in low-Earth orbit for its Starlink project.
In a document released, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed that it has approved an application from the company for a license to “construct, deploy, and operate a satellite constellation.”
The document further said that by proceeding with the project, Boeing plans to provide “broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users in the United States and globally.”
A lucrative business
The company aims to send 147 satellites, 132 of which will orbit around 965 km above our planet, while the remaining 15 are set to orbit between 27,350 and 43,450 km above Earth. It’s not clear when the company will start its services.
The satellite internet business is lucrative, with Elon Musk believing to make over $50 billion in annual revenue for his firm if it grabs even a small portion of the global telecommunications market.
SpaceX is reportedly working with several airlines with an aim to offer Wi-Fi with its Starlink service during flights. Jonathan Hofeller — SpaceX’s VP of Starlink, told a panel at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit that SpaceX is going forward with its plans to shift wireless internet service from only focusing on rural areas to more commercial options by the end of this year.
Other players jumping the wagon
Besides, OneWeb will soon be launching a satellite internet service. Its services will also use satellites in low-Earth orbit to beam broadband internet from space. UK-based OneWeb is confirmed to have launched 34 internet satellites bringing its total to 288 satellites.
The company’s latest launch puts its plans on track to roll out a global internet service by 2022, with a fleet of 648 satellites. Earlier, by the end of this year, OneWeb hopes to launch a trial service in some areas of Canada and Alaska. OneWeb’s latest launch happened aboard an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan.