SpaceX says 5G interference could make Starlink ‘unusable’

A photo of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket taking off.

A long exposure was used to create this image) A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A on May 6, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Photograph: Red Huber (Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet company is on a collision course with 5G. That’s what SpaceX wants you to think, anyway.

In a new spicy analysis launched this week, SpaceX, which owns and operates the Starlink satellite network, argues that television provider Dish attempts opening up the 12 GHz spectrum for use by Dish’s satellite and 5G mobile network would lead to interference that would, in effect, render the Starlink product “unusable”. SpaceX’s Starlink satellites currently rely on the coveted 12 GHz band to provide downlink services in the US

In its review, SpaceX states that some amount of “harmful interference from the land mobile service” (i.e. Dish’s 5G network) within the 12.2-12.7 GBHz spectrum band would occur about 77% of the time. . The company claims that interference can result in complete Starlink outages 74% of the time. From SpaceX’s perspective, Dish’s lobbying efforts pose an existential risk to Starlink’s business in certain markets. The dish, on the other hand, has previously said that opening up 12GHz to 5G represents a “win-win” for everyone involved.

“We want coexistence,” Dish Executive Vice President of Foreign and Legislative Affairs Jeff Blum told Fierce Wireless last year. “We believe that coexistence is possible. We want to protect our own satellite service.”

For those who have lost track, SpaceX has released about 2,700 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit and has more than 400,000 subscribers worldwide, launching its internet service for the first time in October 2020. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he expects impulse the number of satellites in space up to 42,000 in the new decades, with the ultimate goal of helping to bring online about one third of the world’s population still does not have access to the internet. For now, though, SpaceX is mainly bringing frustratingly unreliable internet for rural Americans. Musk’s company says Dish’s efforts to incorporate 5G into the 12GHz band could derail those plans.

Dish said the company’s “expert engineers” are currently evaluating SpaceX’s claims. The Federal Communications Commission, which governs the use of wireless spectrum, did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. SpaceX did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

The company’s impassioned reviews come in response to a separate earlier report conducted by wireless internet provider RS ​​Access, which SpaceX claims included several “flagrant errors” and “wrong assumptions” that painted a picture of less severe mobile interference. SpaceX says it conducted its own analysis using the same methodology as this study, “but using assumptions that reflect reality and correcting several of the more egregious errors.”

“Even with these very favorable assumptions, the analysis clearly demonstrates that the introduction of a mobile service in the 12 GHz band would interfere with services already allocated and operating in the band and disrupt next-generation satellite service for Americans across the country.” SpaceX wrote in their reviews.

SpaceX took its beef with Dish to the FCC. On a Letter discovered by CNBC, SpaceX asked the agency to “investigate whether Dish and RS Access have submitted intentionally misleading reports.”

“This analysis verifies what should be intuitive – that a high-powered terrestrial network would blow anyone using the high-sensitivity equipment that satellite consumers must use to receive signals that meet international commission and energy restrictions on downlink transmissions. by satellite,” SpaceX Senior Director of Satellite Policy About David Goldman wrote. “As a result, far fewer Americans would be able to connect using next-generation satellite services, and those who remain would experience service degradation and regular network outages.”

Starlink has only had satellites floating around in space for about three years,’1 but has already gained a reputation for initiating conflicts with ISPs. Last year, a collection of rural broadband providers united under the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association questioned whether or not Starlink is eligible to receive federal funds from the FCC. These companies doubted whether or not SpaceX could achieve the advertised speeds and performance.

Anyone following Rocket Man’s Ventures at this point they are probably justified in accepting any claims associated with performance or deadlines with a grain, or perhaps a whole shaker, of salt. Still, while some anxious commentators breathless touted Starlinks as the death knell for traditional telecommunications, Musk has, for now, adopted a surprisingly more reserved tone, opting instead to to say Starlink can provide an “add-on” to terrestrial 5G and fiber.

On the question of possible 5G interference, it’s hard to say from the outside whether SpaceX’s or Dish’s analyzes are closer to reality. If Musk is recent spat With Twitter’s advice and the SEC a guide, it’s clear that the richest man in the world is more than willing to drag complaints and yell at anyone who will listen to get what he wants.

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