TAMPA, Fla. – SpaceX warned June 21 that its Starlink broadband network would become unusable for most Americans if a proposal to use the 12 GHz band for terrestrial 5G is approved.
US-based satellite broadcaster Dish Network is seeking permission to operate a high-performance cellular service in the 12 GHz band, which is part of the Ku band spectrum that Starlink, OneWeb and other satellite operators use to connect to user terminals .
In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX said tests it conducted in Las Vegas show how the proposed network causes Starlink users to “experience harmful interference” more than 77% of the time.
Starlink would be “subject to total service outages 74% of the time,” wrote David Goldman, SpaceX’s senior director of satellite policy.
“This analysis verifies what should be intuitive — that a powerful terrestrial network would blow out anyone using the high-sensitivity equipment satellite consumers must use to receive signals that comply with Commission and international flow restrictions for downlink transmissions via satellite,” he said.
“As a result, far fewer Americans could be connected using next-generation satellite services, and those who remain would experience degraded service and regular network outages.”
He said SpaceX’s analysis reveals inaccuracies and “outrageous assumptions” in previous interference studies commissioned by RS Access, a holding company that, like Dish Network, has licenses in the 12 GHz band that it plans to upgrade for a 5G. network in the United States.
A study for RS Access estimated a nationwide 5G network would cause interference at less than 1% of terminals used by non-geostationary satellite operators, as well as detailed solutions that would reduce impact.
However, Goldman said this analysis is “disconnected from reality” and does not take into account factors such as how satellite operators share their spectrum through coordination arrangements.
“In fact, SpaceX recently announced that it has reached a coordination agreement with OneWeb, but historic achievements such as this require the flexibility that comes only with full access to this shared band,” he wrote in the letter to the FCC.
He said RS Access’s analysis also assumes that its terrestrial network would only cover dense urban areas and that it would be geographically separated from satellite operators that would remain in almost entirely rural areas.
That would mean Starlink essentially forgoes “often unserved or underserved users” in these urban areas.
According to SpaceX’s study, harmful interference from a powerful cellular service in the 12 GHz band would extend more than 21 miles from the macro base station in unobstructed conditions.
SpaceX urged the FCC to reject Dish Network’s 12 GHz proposal and investigate whether previous technical studies submitted to the regulator were intentionally misleading.
Dish Network spokesperson Meredith Diers said the company’s “expert engineers are evaluating SpaceX’s claims in the filing.” RS Access did not respond to a request for comment.
The letter is the latest exchange in a bitter regulatory feud between SpaceX and Dish Network that has been going on for years in FCC filings.
In a June 13 letter to the FCC, Dish Network counsel Pantelis Michalopoulos called on the regulator to force SpaceX to deactivate Starlink customers who have installed antennas on moving boats and cars because the company has not yet been authorized to provide mobility services. exploit.
Goldman told the FCC in the June 21 letter from SpaceX that regulatory “attacks” by Dish Network have “delayed new services, such as cellular connectivity, that otherwise unserved Americans desperately needed.”
Dish Network has collected frequencies in other spectrum bands for its 5G plans. The company said on June 15 that it: commercially launched 5G services in more than 100 cities in the United States, covering approximately 20% of the US population.
Most of Starlink’s current coverage in the United States is concentrated west of the Mississippi River and is not limited to cities, according to the availability cardand the remaining areas will come online in 2023.