Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos spar over satellite internet projects
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos quarreled over satellite Internet
Two of the richest people on the planet are struggling to reach a compromise with federal regulators because of the massive satellite internet projects their companies are developing..
CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday that his company is working to convince FCC officials to allow SpaceX to move some of its Starlink satellites to lower altitudes than originally planned.
Amazon Jeff Bezos was among the companies that challenged SpaceX’s request on the grounds that this modification would interfere with the operation of other satellites.
«Don’t restrict Starlink today because of Amazon’s satellite system, which is a few years away at best from launch.», – Musk stated in his tweet.
Amazon responded to Musk’s comment in a statement to CNBC.
«The facts are simple. We designed the Kuiper System to avoid interference with Starlink, and now SpaceX wants to redesign its system. These changes not only create more hazardous conditions for collisions in space, but also increase radio interference for customers. Despite SpaceX’s tweets, it is SpaceX’s proposed changes that will weaken competition between satellite systems. Obviously it is in SpaceX’s best interest to stifle competition in the cradle if they can, but it would definitely not be in the public interest.», – said Amazon spokesman.
Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to create an interconnected internet network of approximately 12,000 satellites designed to deliver high-speed Internet anywhere in the world. Already having in orbit more than 1,000 satellites, SpaceX launched a public beta program in October. Initial service is priced at $ 99 per month in addition to the $ 499 preorder for the Starlink Kit, which includes a custom terminal and Wi-Fi router to connect to satellites.
In the meantime, Amazon is working on its own satellite internet called Project Kuiper. The company plans to launch 3,236 internet satellites into low Earth orbit. This system will compete with Starlink. Although Amazon went through a critical milestone in December in the hardware for the antennas needed to connect to the network, the company has yet to start producing or launching its satellites..
In July, the FCC approved Amazon’s proposal for Kuiper, in which the company plans to invest more than $ 10 billion..
Musk’s comment followed after SpaceX’s director David Goldman discussed with the FCC the company’s proposal to move some of the Starlink satellites to lower altitudes.
In a presentation to the FCC, Goldman emphasized that Amazon representatives held «30 meetings to face SpaceX», but never met to authorize their own system, claiming the tech giant is trying «stifle competition».
Amazon spoke with FCC chairman in December Ajit Pai about SpaceX’s request to change its plans for the Starlink project. Amazon has asked the FCC to limit SpaceX satellites to a minimum altitude of 580 km until the regulator «will not thoroughly disassemble a detailed report of serious problems with interference», which, according to Amazon, the SpaceX modification exists.
«SpaceX has indicated that it is capable of operating its system within 580 km and has not demonstrated why such a condition should not take effect immediately.», – written by Amazon corporate counsel Mariah Dodson Schumann in his letter to the FCC.
SpaceX executives estimate Starlink could generate up to $ 30 billion a year, more than 10 times the annual revenue of the company‘s space rocket business..
Earlier this month, SpaceX expanded its beta program to include UK and Canadian customers. The company aims to expand access to Starlink internationally. Publicly available documents confirming that the company is registered in Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa and Spain.