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Airline Starlink Internet as fast as broadband now as DISH sues SpaceX over Gen2 satellites

Elon Musk says that in-flight Starlink is as fast as fixed broadband (image: Starlink)
Elon Musk says that in-flight Starlink is as fast as fixed broadband (image: Starlink)
DISH has filed an appeal arguing that SpaceX shouldn't be allowed to shoot its big next generation Starlink Internet satellites that will provide phone service because of possible interference. The Dark-Sky Association has filed a separate lawsuit, but SpaceX appears nonplussed as it has launch permission by the FCC for some of the satellites requested.

The second generation of Starlink satellites that SpaceX has permission to launch is much larger than the first and its Internet-beaming services could cause light pollution as well as, according to DISH, interference with its own satellites. That is why both DISH and the environmental group International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) have filed lawsuits against the FCC's decision that grants SpaceX permission to launch 7,500 Gen2 satellites for Starlink Internet out of the 29,988 that Elon Musk's space company requested.

"The order leaves millions of families receiving satellite television service from Dish in the same frequency band vulnerable to interference," claims Dish in the appeal as it "allows the system to use the 12.2-12.7 GHz (12 GHz) frequency band for its space-to-Earth operations."

This has been a pet peeve of DISH for a while as it is sitting on a giant amount of 12 GHz spectrum and wants to use it for terrestrial 5G services which SpaceX in its turn worries will cause interference with the Internet delivery to its own Starlink customers. Thus, DISH's filing is a sort of a counter-lawsuit, plus it did employ self-ordered scientific studies to prove there will be no interference to worry about for its previous argumentations before the FCC.

The IDA, on the other hand, worries that the big Gen2 satellites will cause even bigger light reflections and pollution in orbit, fooling astronomers' research and causing equipment interference, too. Apparently, the Dark-Sky Association isn't happy with the agreement that SpaceX reached with the US National Science Foundation to coordinate on interference with optical and infrared astronomy equipment "to the extent practicable."

Starlink needs the Gen2 satellites to provide not only Internet but also exchange info with phones on the ground directly, similar to the emergency service that the new iPhone 14 series offers, as it has an agreement with T-Mobile for deployment of such a solution to its subscribers.

The deal with T-Mobile is just another example how SpaceX is constantly trying to branch out and expand in order to increase Starlink's commercial reach and its Aviation service is another shining example. Starlink keeps signing up airlines to be their in-flight satellite Internet provider, and Elon Musk even chimed in on a report that charter airline JSX's deployment has been met with "amazement and delight" by its customers.

"Starlink in aircraft feels the same as a high-speed connection on the ground," argued Elon Musk, as the Starlink Aviation service promises up to 350 Mbps speeds delivered to every plane in a fleet, and with 20 ms latency at that, allowing aircraft passengers in-flight luxuries like "video calls, online gaming, virtual private networks and other high data rate activities." Given that the fastest fixed broadband provider in the US delivered 226.18 Mbps average download speeds in Q4, SpaceX's CEO may not be wrong in his claims.

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Elon Musk (Twitter), DISH via ExtremeTech

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 01 > Airline Starlink Internet as fast as broadband now as DISH sues SpaceX over Gen2 satellites
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-01-14 (Update: 2023-01-14)