Boeing has been given permission to deploy satellites that can broadcast broadband internet from space.
The space giant will be one of a growing number of companies working towards the same goal, with SpaceX already deploying more than 1,600 satellites into low Earth orbit for its fledgling Starlink service.
In a document released on Wednesday, Nov. 3, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed it had approved Boeing’s application for a license to “build, deploy and operate a satellite constellation.”
It added that by moving forward with the project, Boeing plans to “provide broadband and communications services to residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users in the United States and worldwide.”
Boeing plans to launch 147 satellites, 132 of which will orbit around 965 km above Earth, while the remaining 15 will orbit between 27,350-43,450 km above our planet.
It is not clear when Boeing will serve its first customers. Digital Trends has reached out to the company and we’ll update this article when we hear back.
In addition to SpaceX, which already has more than 100,000 users in 16 countries after the launch of the first batch of internet satellites in 2019, other companies such as OneWeb and Amazon (with the Project Kuiper initiative) are also looking to use satellites to beam the internet from space.
It’s a potentially lucrative venture, with SpaceX boss Elon Musk believing it could generate about $50 billion in annual revenue for his company if it captures even a few percent of the global telecommunications market.
But not everyone is happy with the apparent call for countless internet satellites to be placed in low Earth orbit. In addition to the increased risk of collisions that could create more dangerous space debris for operators of larger satellites, the Internet satellites could also interfere with the work of astronomers, many of whom have already expressed concern that their view of deep space could be affected by sunlight coming in. reflected from the satellites. For example, SpaceX is trying to tackle the problem by applying an anti-reflective coating to the satellites it sends into orbit.