In a unanimous vote of 4-0, FCC members decided against allowing ground-based mobile service in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band, which is crucial for Starlink’s customer terminals.
Starlink, an innovative project by SpaceX, offers global broadband coverage through a network of low-Earth orbit (LOE) satellites. The FCC concluded that Dish Network’s proposed 5G plan would create interference issues with Starlink’s satellite operations.
The interference problem arose from Dish Network’s utilization of the 12 GHz frequency band, which is also used by Starlink for communication between its satellites and ground-based user terminals. SpaceX expressed concerns that Dish’s spectrum usage would cause significant disruption to its services, potentially impacting internet access for Starlink customers.
By denying Dish Network’s plan, the FCC aims to address the regulatory challenge of managing limited resources amidst the growing demands of various technological initiatives. The decision underscores the importance of preserving the functionality of satellite-based broadband services like Starlink, which play a vital role in providing internet access to remote and underserved areas worldwide.
This ruling is considered a triumph for Starlink and the global community benefiting from its services. By safeguarding the 12 GHz band against potential interference, the FCC ensures the possibility of a globally accessible internet service, crucial for bridging the digital divide.
In the ever-evolving telecommunications landscape, the allocation of resources, such as the 12 GHz band, is more critical than ever. This case demonstrates the ongoing challenge faced by federal regulators in striking the right balance between innovation and fair competition.
Starlink emphasizes the need for open and constructive dialogue among all stakeholders, including companies, regulators, and the public, to determine the optimal use of shared resources. Through such collaboration, the true purpose of technology, connecting and uplifting everyone, can be realized, according to Starlink.
Last June, Starlink called upon its subscribers to oppose the Dish Network plan by contacting the FCC. Starlink pointed out that Dish was attempting to claim rights to the 12 GHz band, which Starlink currently uses for content downloads. Despite technical studies refuting Dish’s claims since 2016, Dish employed paid lobbyists who attempted to mislead the FCC with faulty analysis to obscure the truth.
Starlink claimed that the Dish plan would render its services unusable for the majority of Americans.
The FCC stated that it declined to authorize Dish Network’s proposal for two-way, high-powered terrestrial mobile use due to the significant risk of harmful interference to existing and emerging services, particularly in the expanding satellite broadband market.
Starlink expressed gratitude to its subscribers in a Tweet, acknowledging that the FCC’s decision “voted to protect high-speed satellite Internet users from harmful interference.”