SpaceX's broadband service plan for the Americas is named Starlink and has now received an endorsement by the Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai.
Joining the likes of OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat — who have also received approvals for similar plans — the SpaceX constellation will be comprised of LEO satellites. The firm's Microsat 2a and 2b are satellites are secondary payloads scheduled for launch from Vandenberg AFB this coming Saturday aboard a Falcon 9, with the primary payload being the HISDESAT Paz satellite. The year 2020 is estimated to be when Starlink will become operational with limited service.
Pai's statement reads...
“To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S. market for non-geostationary satellite orbit systems — involves one such innovation. Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. And it can offer more competition where terrestrial Internet access is already available.
“Following careful review of this application by our International Bureau’s excellent satellite engineering experts, I have asked my colleagues to join me in supporting this application and moving to unleash the power of satellite constellations to provide high-speed Internet to rural Americans. If adopted, it would be the first approval given to an American-based company to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies.”