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SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service sent out an email to users earlier today asking them for help in its fight to preserve the 12GHz spectrum for satellite internet use. Starlink lets its users connect to the Internet through user terminals that transfer data to and from satellites orbiting the Earth in low Earth orbit (LEO). These terminals use the 12GHz spectrum to connect with the satellites, and this spectrum is also used by multichannel video and data distribution services (MVDDS) providers and DISH - both of which have had rights to the spectrum for decades.
The 12GHz spectrum has been a point of contention at the FCC for quite a while now, and things heated up when SpaceX started to rapidly launch satellites, provided users with equipment and opened its network to the public. Now, it wants its users to help it end what it calls a 'lobbying campaign' which according to Starlink will spell the end of the service in America.
DISH Is Using "Paid Lobbyists" To Woo FCC In Its Favor Alleges Starlink
Today's email, shared by several users on the social media platform Reddit, follows the aggressive approach that Starlink has taken to the issue that is crucial to its survival. The 12GHz band, or 500Mhz of it to be precise, are a hot point of contention between the satellite and terrestrial internet providers, and Starlink has long argued that it and other non-geostationary fixed-satellite service (NGSO FSS) providers should retain access to it since all others granted the right of development have failed to meet their commitments to the FCC.
DISH and Starlink use the same frequency for their user terminals, and despite the fact that their satellites are vastly different, this opens up the scenario for significant interference between the two. This interference itself has been controversial, with the ongoing fight at the FCC seeing DISH and others initially argue that NGSO FSS companies cannot co-exist in the same spectrum, but then submitting more studies later on that showed that coexistence is possible.
After more than a year, Starlink countered with a study of its own earlier this month which raised shocking concerns about its operations. It is now using this study as part of an email that asks users in America to connect to their leaders in the House of Representatives and share with them the benefits of using Starlink.
A copy of the email, seen by Wccftech (present here), reads as follows:
Today we ask for your support in ending a lobbying campaign that threatens to make Starlink unusable for you and the vast majority of our American customers.
As recently reported, DISH Network has been hoarding spectrum for years as a strategy for preventing open and fair competition.
More recently, DISH has been attempting to claim new rights to the 12GHz band, which is the spectrum you currently use to download content with Starlink. Despite technical studies dating back as far as 2016 that refute the basis of their claims, DISH has employed paid lobbyists who are attempting to mislead the FCC with faulty analysis in hopes of obscuring the truth.
In reality, if DISH gets their way, Starlink customers will experience harmful interference more than 77% of the time and total outage of service 74% of the time, rendering Starlink unusable for most Americans.
The email then proceeds to share a link to SpaceX's latest study and to a website where users can share their views with government officials.
Here's everything you need to know about the 12GHz fight: