The two richest men on the planet are sparing federal regulators on large-scale satellite Internet projects that their companies are developing.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Tuesday, as his company worked to convince officials of the Federal Communications Commission that it allowed SpaceX to carry some of its StarLink satellites to lower altitudes than originally planned Give.
Jeff Bezos’s Amazon is among the companies that disputed SpaceX’s request, on the grounds that the modification would interfere with other satellites.
“It does not serve the public today to hamstring Starlink for the Amazon satellite system, which has been away for many years,” Musk said in a tweet.
Amazon responded to Musk’s comment in a statement to CNBC.
“The facts are simple. We designed the Kuiper system to avoid Starlink interference, and now SpaceX wants to change the design of its system. Those changes not only create a more dangerous environment for collisions in space, but they also increase radio interference for customers. Despite what SpaceX posts on Twitter, it is SpaceX’s proposed changes that will boost competition between satellite systems. An Amazon spokesman said that it is clearly in SpaceX’s interest to compete in the cradle if they can, but it is certainly not in the public interest.
Starlink SpaceX plans to create an interconnected Internet network with about 12,000 satellites, designed to deliver high-speed Internet anywhere on the planet. With more than 1,000 satellites in orbit so far, SpaceX launched a public beta program in October. In addition to the upfront cost of $ 499 to order the Starlink kit, the initial service is priced at $ 99 per month, which includes user terminals and Wi-Fi routers to connect satellites.
Meanwhile, Amazon is working on its own satellite Internet called Project Kuiper. It plans to launch 3,236 Internet satellites into low Earth orbit – a system that will compete with Starlink. Although in December Amazon passed an important initial hardware milestone for the antennas it needs to connect to the network, it has yet to begin producing or launching its satellites.
In July, the FCC authorized Amazon’s proposal for Kuiper, which the company says would invest more than $ 10 billion to build.
Musk’s comment comes after SpaceX director David Goldman spoke late last week to SpaceX director David Goldman to discuss the company’s proposal to move Some Starlint carry satellites to lower altitudes.
In a presentation before the FCC, Goldman said that Amazon representatives held “30 meetings to oppose SpaceX”, but that “none of the meetings are meant to authorize their own systems,” arguing that That technology giants are trying to “compete”.
In December, Amazon representatives spoke with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai about SpaceX’s request to modify its Starlink plans. Amazon asked that the FCC limit SpaceX’s satellites to a minimum height of 580 kilometers unless the regulator “evaluates detailed records on significant interference concerns” until Amazon believes SpaceX’s amendment is submitted was done.
Amazon corporate lawyer Maria Dodson Shuman said in a letter to the FCC that SpaceX indicated it was capable of operating its system without exceeding 580 km and did not demonstrate why such a situation would not occur. needed.
The satellite networks of both companies represent ambitious projects with SpaceX, like Amazon, saying it would cost about $ 10 billion or more to build its network.
But SpaceX leadership estimates that Starlink could bring in $ 30 billion a year, or more than 10 times the annual revenue of its rocket business.
SpaceX expanded its beta program to include customers in the United Kingdom and Canada earlier this month. The company intends to expand StarLink reach extensively internationally, with public records registered in Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand. Philippines, South Africa and Spain.