SpaceX stresses importance of 28 GHz earth station siting rules

SpaceX (SpaceX)
SpaceX is looking out for both existing and next-generation satellite gateway technologies. (SpaceX)

SpaceX is doing its part to make sure the FCC understands the importance of the “clear and reasonable” earth station siting rules in the 28 GHz space that support deployment scenarios for both existing and next-generation satellite gateway technologies.

Representatives of Elon Musk's company recently met with FCC representatives to discuss items related to the 28 GHz band, which is a band that's also being tapped by wireless operators for 5G services. Staff from the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, the International Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau were present during the discussions.

Specifically, SpaceX voiced appreciation for the commission’s review of siting requirements for gateway technologies to be used in conjunction with near-term non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) constellations, according to an ex parte filing (PDF).

“Given the promise of such NGSO constellations to connect previously unserved or underserved consumers, SpaceX encouraged the Commission to adopt gateway siting rules that do not unduly constrain the deployment and delivery of innovative satellite services and their supporting ground station facilities,” the company wrote.

SpaceX urged the commission to clarify that if the contour of a 28 GHz gateway earth station deployed on private property does not exceed the -77.6 dBm/m2/MHz limit at its property line or otherwise does not cover any population, the earth station does not count toward the current per-county or population coverage limits as outlined in the commission’s rules.

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SpaceX also urged the commission to clarify that, if a satellite operator reaches a private coordination agreement with a terrestrial licensee, any earth stations deployed pursuant to that agreement do not count toward the same per-county and population coverage limits

SpaceX is among a bevy of hopefuls that want to connect the unconnected through satellite technology—only this time, in a more affordable manner. The company plans to bring reliable and affordable broadband internet service to consumers in the U.S. and the world, including areas underserved or currently unserved by existing networks.

The SpaceX system (PDF) will initially consist of 4,425 satellites using Ka- and Ku-Band spectrum to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users worldwide. SpaceX has separately filed for authority to operate in the V-Band, where it has proposed an additional constellation of 7,500 satellites operating even closer to Earth.

SpaceX has said that its end-user terminals, which will amount to a relatively small flat panel the size of a laptop, will use phased array technologies to allow for highly directive, steered antenna beams that track the system’s low-Earth orbit satellites. In space, satellites will communicate with each other using optical intersatellite links, which the company says will effectively create a mesh network flying overhead that will enable seamless network management and continuity of service.