SpaceX Starlink and Dish Network Clash Over Broadband

The two companies are fighting at the Federal Communications Commission.
Fabienne Lang

SpaceX's Starlink division and Dish Network are in a fight at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as Dish is trying to "expropriate the 12 GHz band," SpaceX stated.

Dish is trying to block an important designation that Starlink needs so as to get FCC broadband funding. 

In a filing to the FCC, SpaceX explained that Dish's attempts to block this funding is only delaying many unserved Americans from being connected to the internet thanks to its Starlink satellites.

Dish, on the other hand, states that interference in the 12 GHz band is cause for concern.

Why Dish and SpaceX are banging at the FCC's door

This current fight revolves around a Starlink petition SpaceX submitted to the FCC that asked to become an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) under the Communications Act. This legal designation is needed in some states where SpaceX was granted federal funding to provide broadband for unserved areas. This is what Dish is requesting the FCC denies SpaceX, ArsTechnica first reported.

This funding is crucial for SpaceX so that it can deploy the internet to over 600,000 homes across 35 states. This funding would partially subsidize the space company's launches of Starlink satellites that would end up serving broadband to all unserved areas of the U.S., and not just those 600,000 or so homes. 

Dish, a satellite-TV provider, has its sights on building a 5G mobile broadband network, which would end up using the 12 GHz band in question. Dish is worried that if SpaceX also uses this 12 GHz band, too much interference would take place. 

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Dish filed a petition with the FCC last week that asks the Commission to block SpaceX's request to join the ETC and access the 12 GHz band.

For the time being, we'll have to wait for the FCC's response to these petitions to know the outcome of both SpaceX and Dish's requests. 

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