Space X Unveils Plans for Gigabit Broadband by Satellite

Space X has filed applications with the FCC to deploy a constellation of more than 4,000 satellites tasked with bringing gigabit broadband service to the masses. According to the applications made with the FCC, Space X’s plan involves the launch of 4,425 satellites into low-earth orbit, operating in the Ku and Ka frequency bands. Space X has opened a new office just outside of Seattle to focus on developing the satellites, which will be roughly 13 feet long and 6 feet wide, with 19-foot-long solar arrays.

The company says its goal is to cover “virtually all parts of the Earth s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service.”

“The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users worldwide,” Space X says of its plan.

The company’s application to the FCC doesn’t offer any cost or pricing details, or provide a launch estimate. Space X says the effort will begin with the launch of roughly 800 satellites that will deliver commercial broadband service to portions of the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It’s not clear when Space X would offer residential satellite broadband service, though historically such options have come at a high price with strict usage caps.

The project, which Space X founder Elon Musk has stated will cost at least $10 billion, was first announced in January of last year.The full Space X application and these additional documents (pdf) provide some additional technical detail.

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