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Protests Grow As Musk’s SpaceX Heads For Oz Skies, Foxtel Object

Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite broadband service has taken its first step into the Australian market. The communications regulator has added the company to a list of satellite operators allowed to occupy Australian airspace, according to a Guardian report.

But it notes that Foxtel has raised concerns that the service might conflict with its subscription TV service.

The SpaceX Starlink currently has 242 satellites deployed above earth, which it plans to expand to a “constellation” of 7518 low-earth orbit satellites. It is aiming to have services operating in northern parts of the US and in Canada in 2020, and then “near-global coverage of the populated world” by 2021, according to the report.

SpaceX has claimed that its service will be able to offer speeds of up to one gigabit a second for users, at “low cost”.

But to set up in Australia as a satellite operator, it must embark on a regulatory process and obtain a licence to use spectrum for the satellites to communicate.

And that may bring problems. The Guardian notes that the Murdoch-owned Foxtel group has told ACMA that it has “very high levels of concern” about potential interference of its service to satellite customers if SpaceX and another company, Kepler, are allowed to use the same Ku frequency band that Foxtel operates in.

However, the report indicates the biggest competitor would be the NBN Co’s two satellites, currently servicing more than 96,000 premises in regional and rural Australia.


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