Boeing taking on SpaceX and Amazon with own satellite Internet network


Boeing has received approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch a satellite broadband constellation that will beam Internet to homes, businesses, and governments across the world.

The company is poised to compete with SpaceX’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and OneWeb’s satellite Internet networks.

Starlink already has more than 1,700 satellites in orbit, OneWeb has launched more than 350, and Project Kuiper is yet to launch any satellites.

Boeing has not yet revealed planned launch dates for its satellites nor any details around possible performance capabilities.

The company plans to have 132 satellites operating at a low-earth orbit altitude of about 1,055km.

The increased distance will result in worse latency than Starlink’s satellites, which operate at about 550kmm above the Earth’s surface and currently have an average ping of about 46ms.

Starlink satellites before deployment

Another batch of 15 non-geostationary Boeing satellites will operate between 27,360km and 44,260km and will likely not be intended for low-latency applications.

The satellites will be able to communicate with each other and to the ground, but the FCC has rejected Boeing’s use of specific frequencies for satellite-to-satellite chatter.

SpaceX previously called on the FCC to limit or dismiss Boeing’s plans over potential “harmful interference” with its Starlink constellation.

Starlink is currently beaming Internet connectivity to more than 100,000 beta users in various countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Germany.

The company has also opened up pre-orders globally, with the service expected to go live on different dates based on your location.

In South Africa, those who pre-ordered before 26 October 2021 can expect the service to be available sometime in 2022, while new pre-orders are now only expected to be fulfilled in 2023.

Now read: Bad news for Starlink pre-orders in South Africa


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