FCC Skeptical About Space X Satellite Broadband Claims

from the disrupt-the-undisruptable dept

Ajit Pai's FCC majority is almost never skeptical about the claims made by giant broadband providers. Yet the FCC is expressing doubt that Elon Musk's looming, well-hyped satellite broadband service Starlink will deliver on its promises.

One of the downsides of traditional satellite service isn't just high prices, slow speeds, and usage caps -- it's latency. Traditional broadband delivers somewhere in the range of 20-30ms, whereas the physics of traditional satellite broadband means service usually delivers a 200ms response time; lag that's usually very noticeable. Space X's Starlink satellite service operates using far more satellites in far lower orbits, meaning latency should be dramatically improved. But Ajit Pai's FCC has been expressing doubts that the service will be able to deliver the low latency it's promising the public.

Despite the fact that Starlink could be very helpful in rural markets (its primary target), the FCC originally blocked the company from getting any rural broadband subsidies whatsoever. But last week in an order, the FCC reversed course (pdf), stating that Starlink could receive these funds. But the FCC was quick to express skepticism that Starlink can deliver broad commercial service with latency under 100ms, as it has been claiming:

"Service providers that intend to use low-Earth orbit satellites claim that the latency of their technology is "dictated by the laws of physics" due to the altitude of the satellite's orbit. We remain skeptical that the altitude of a satellite's orbit is the sole determinant of a satellite applicant's ability to meet the Commission's low-latency performance requirements. As commenters have explained, the latency experienced by customers of a specific technology is not merely a matter of the physics of one link in the transmission. Propagation delay in a satellite network does not alone account for latency in other parts of the network such as processing, routing, and transporting traffic to its destination. Short-form applicants seeking to bid as a low-latency provider using low-Earth orbit satellite networks will face a substantial challenge demonstrating to Commission staff that their networks can deliver real-world performance to consumers below the Commission's 100ms low-latency threshold."

One the one hand, I think Pai's skepticism is likely warranted. The satellite broadband sector, including low-Earth orbit satellite, has seen no limit of hype and failure over the last decade. Maybe Musk is the one who finally gets this play right, and maybe he isn't. But the broadband industry has been filled with so much empty hype over the years you really shouldn't buy into the hype of satellite broadband as a serious, major competitor until you see a broad, commercial launch. And even then, much like 5G, we need to see what speeds, pricing, and usage caps look like before declaring it some kind of competitive panacea.

On the other hand, this FCC's history is chock full of examples where it expresses absolutely no skepticism whatsoever at the absurd claims made by companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Charter (Spectrum), which all have a vested interest in broadband competitors never seeing the light of day. This is also an FCC boss who has never once expressed the slightest concern about the billions in taxpayer dollars we've thrown at Frontier, AT&T, and Verizon for fiber networks that were never delivered. Seriously, check out the fraudulent nonsense by ISPs like Frontier is West Virginia, then realize the FCC has never made a peep.

Which is to say I think the FCC is making these claims in good faith, but the agency engaged in enough bad faith shenanigans the last three years, it's hard to say for sure. When you pander ideologically to industry like this FCC has done (repealing net neutrality, fighting privacy rules, fighting states' rights to enforce consumer protection), you start to lose the benefit of the doubt. Having watched this industry for 20 years, I certainly wouldn't be shocked to see regulatory barriers suddenly spring up in Starlink's path that have been lobbied for by the likes of AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast.

Either way, the potential exists for Starlink (and other companies, like Amazon), to finally disrupt one of the least liked industries in America. Assuming the technology works well. And assuming regulators don't foul it up. And assuming the company doesn't get bored with the high costs and hard work required to do battle with legacy broadband providers... you know, like Google did.

Filed Under: ajit pai, broadband, competition, fcc, low earth orbit, satellite, starlink
Companies: space x


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 3:50pm

    The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

    Which is to say I think the FCC is making these claims in good faith, but the agency engaged in enough bad faith shenanigans the last three years, it's hard to say for sure.

    Uhh, no. I guarantee you that if Comcast or one of the other major ISP's were running Starlink Pai would accept any claims made at face value, and far from trying to keep them from getting subsides would have been advocating throwing money at them from the get-go.

    The fact that he might be right to be skeptical for once does not mean his motivations should get a pass, as he has more than burned through any benefit of the doubt he may have otherwise deserved by making crystal clear which side he is on and who he thinks he's supposed to serve.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2020 @ 5:40pm

      Re: The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

      Accidentally skeptical of a real thing because it is easiest and serves his purposes. His "skepticism" may be exaggerated, i don't know.

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    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 5:50pm

      Re: The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

      Pai to Starlink: "Kick this football, Charlie Brown!"
      Pai to Comcast: "How many billions do you want today?"

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 2:41am

        Re: Re: The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

        Atlanta mayor to police: Keep the Peace. Quit Shooting People.

        Police to Atlanta mayor - Go Protect yourself! We're taking a day off! Get a gun!

        I love reality, I'm not like black people. I enjoy what actually happens in the real world. You want reparations? FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING REPARATIONS.

        You can pry my tazer from my cold dead fingers before you get a FUCKING CENT for your Black Lives Matter Reparations!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 6:15am

          Re: Re: Re: The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

          The people to the few racist looting assholes: Grow up already

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 6:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

            Listen, sonny. We are the grown up ones. We have the money. We have the power. And we think the TEARS of you leftist WEENIES are DELICIOUS. HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Fuck you, come to the Trump Rally, and I will get a PRESIDENTIAL PARDON for BLOWING YOUR BRAINS OUT! (not really, this is just done for effect).

            God bless American, and please don't take that in the wrong way. I love everyone!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 7:13am

          Re: Re: Re: The benefit of the doubt is well gone by now

          Let's make that happen.

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  • icon
    Richard M (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 4:31pm

    Needs to because Mars...

    Elon is going to do everything possible to make Starlink work. He needs the money from a successful roll out to finance his dream of getting to Mars. Everything he has been doing are just stepping stones to his real goal so if it is possible he will get it done.

    Could he fail? Yes but lets hope not...

    Pai needs to go jump in front of a bus or something.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 4:37pm

      Could he fail? Yes but lets hope not

      Fuck that. He could be putting the money he’s using as the bankroll for his “let’s get me and maybe all the other rich people off this shithole planet” dream to help undo the damage of global climate change. That he’d rather leave the planet than save it says a lot about him — and none of it is good.

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      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 5:12pm

        Re:

        To be fair... I think Elon is wacky and not to be trusted (in such a way that it turned me from a fan into someone who will never buy anything he sells), but you could argue that his efforts with Tesla and Solar City are, in fact, attempts to "help undo the damage of global climate change."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 2:16am

          Re: Re:

          To be fair? Here?

          The growing conflict between the Northern and Southern systems
          of production laid a basis for the Civil War. The Southern system was based
          on slavery and the cultivation of cotton as a main crop. In 1793, the
          invention of the cotton gin gave the cotton industry, and with it slavery, a
          new economic boost. It made cleaning the Southern short-staple cotton
          fairly efficient. Get that? FAIRLY efficient!

          More abundant and cheaper cotton also helped expand the
          textile industry in the Northeast, which became the center for
          manufacturing, Cotton cultivation exhausted the soil, which created the
          continuing need for expansion of the plantation system into new territory.

          Who's wacky? Who's a fan? Climate Change? What's that?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 3:06am

            Re: Re: Re:

            This is applicable how?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 5:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, think about it. I mean for a minute. Or more. WHO can be trusted? Certainly not WHO, they're obligated to China! I already cut off their money from America! And if not WHO, then WHO?

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        • identicon
          OGquaker, 22 Jun 2020 @ 10:40pm

          Re: The Bstrd changes his mind ..... ESTOPPEL

          Gandi (who DID have a JD but was too wacky and nervous in court) said My commitment is to truth, not to consistency

          While SpaceX ultimately convinced the FCC not to lump Starlink and other non-geostationary orbit satellite systems with higher latency orbits, the company formally notified the FCC earlier this month that it still won’t be seeking Connect America funding for Starlink. “SpaceX believes that it is more effective to leverage advanced technology and smart private sector infrastructure investment to reach America’s unserved and underserved population, rather than seek Government subsidization for this effort,” SpaceX’s Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, Patricia Cooper, wrote in a May 8, 2018 letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 9:34am

        Re:

        That's both a naive and super short-sighted comment. We're not going to save this planet unless the most populous countries on Earth get on board. They're not going to do that any time soon, certainly not soon enough to avoid going "over the edge".

        Sooner or later we will get out into the stars and populate other planets. Why not start now?

        Musk also has done a lot, certainly a lot more than you and any government, to address the climate problem. If he has enough money left over to advance science and our inevitable move into space then more power to him.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jun 2020 @ 1:03pm

          We're not going to save this planet unless the most populous countries on Earth get on board.

          True, but we also need to stop the biggest polluters. We have their names. We know where they do business. Until we stop them, countries signing on for clean energy and all is practically a stopgap measure.

          Sooner or later we will get out into the stars and populate other planets. Why not start now?

          Because only rich people will be doing that shit. Or do you think Elon Musk has the resources to move even a tenth of the human population from Earth to even Earth’s moon, never mind Mars?

          Musk also has done a lot, certainly a lot more than you and any government, to address the climate problem.

          He could be doing more — like, for example, pushing countries to adopt laws and regulations that would curb major polluters. That he isn’t (to my knowledge) doing such things says as much about him as does his trying to escape the planet before the Sixth Extinction plays out in full.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 6:26pm

            Re:

            Because only rich people will be doing that shit. Or do you think Elon Musk has the resources to move even a tenth of the human population from Earth to even Earth’s moon, never mind Mars?

            Any new technology is expensive. Not everyone can afford it. Does that mean we should never develop that technology?

            He could be doing more

            So could we all. Musk isn't all-powerful (despite his apparent illusions). It's also not up to him to solve all of the world's problems, or even one of them for that matter. No more than it is up to you or me. It's not even rational to say that someone who has done so much for [cause X] is an asshole because he isn't doing even more.

            You seem to simply hate anyone who is wealthier than you are.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jun 2020 @ 7:53pm

              Any new technology is expensive. Not everyone can afford it. Does that mean we should never develop that technology?

              If the technology could improve mankind, it should be developed and made as affordable as can be — or given away, if possible.

              So could we all.

              Elon Musk commands the attention of politicians, CEOs, and other such powerful figures by virture of his obscene wealth. The “average” person does not.

              Elon Musk can come out against major polluters while using his obscene wealth to help stop/mitigate those companies. The “average” person can, at most, sign a petition.

              The “average” person can do something, but their efforts will be a drop in the bucket if they’re lucky. Elon Musk can do much more than the “average” person and still have enough money left over to live like a demigod. Consider who can do more, then ask who should be doing more.

              You seem to simply hate anyone who is wealthier than you are.

              I don’t hate people who have more money than me. I don’t even hate Elon Musk. Besides, hate is an extreme feeling best saved for extreme situations.

              But I do dislike (and generally distrust) people who hoard obscene amounts of wealth that they “earned” by exploiting the “average” person.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 8:09pm

                Re:

                Right. You're a Marxist. Thanks for coming out and finally admitting it in public.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 9:04am

                Re:

                Elon Musk can come out against major polluters while using his obscene wealth to help stop/mitigate those companies. The “average” person can, at most, sign a petition.

                "Average" people are choosing to give money to Tesla rather than more direct environmental causes. Sure, Musk could decide to spend that money to improve the environment, fight racism, do medical research, put an end to war, or whatever the current trend in humanitarianism is. But the whole point of money is that the recipient gets to do whatever they want with it. Nevermind that travel to Mars is not necessarily a selfish "escape" with no potential benefit to Earthlings.

                It's complete bullshit to say that a petition is the most an "average" person can do. Particularly when it comes to the environment, people have a lot of options, even if some might be inconvenient:

                • get around by public transit or bicycle (instead of making excuses about why it's not practical in their area or situation)
                • install solar panels or sign up for an electrical service based on renewable energy
                • get rid of things like furnaces, water tanks, and barbeques that use fossil fuels
                • limit energy use and travel
                • install shading, insulation, better windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures, etc.
                • limit dealings with companies with poor environmental policies, and tell them (why do you think so many companies are touting their environmental friendliness?)

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Jun 2020 @ 11:48am

                  Doing all those things are good, yes; I’m not saying otherwise. But they won’t negate all the pollution that the worst polluters in the world are dumping into the world every day. Stopping that will take far more money and power than the “average” person has. So the onus for helping to stop that bullshit lies with people who do have that power and wealth. Elon Musk fits that bill.

                  But like I said, I distrust anyone who hoards their money like they’re Smaug or some shit. Musk might be spending a hefty amount of money, but it’s all to eventually make himself richer. Or do you think his planned escape trips to Mars will be at no cost to the passengers?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2020 @ 9:58am

                    Re:

                    But they won’t negate all the pollution that the worst polluters in the world are dumping into the world every day. Stopping that will take far more money and power than the “average” person has.

                    One generally becomes a billionaire by collecting the money that the average people have. The power is voluntarily granted by them, and a boycott can therefore have a huge amount of power, if enough people participate. And that's direct democracy—your "representatives" have very little power to interfere, and other billionaires aren't going to bail out the polluters for no good reason.

                    But like I said, I distrust anyone who hoards their money like they’re Smaug or some shit. Musk might be spending a hefty amount of money, but it’s all to eventually make himself richer.

                    Fair enough, but that's how we've set up society. If the people decided that little green photographs of presidents were unimportant, being a "billionaire" wouldn't mean shit. If you're a construction worker, you can choose to build a giant house for someone who'll give you a lot of money, or for someone who's done a lot to improve the environment. We keep choosing the money. Doesn't that make us all Smaug-like?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2020 @ 7:19pm

            Re: Mr. $Musk is not MAN enough for ME

            like, for example, pushing countries to adopt laws and regulations that would curb major polluters. That he isn’t 2012 @ 00:50:00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1HZIQliuoA or 2015 at COP21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHGd6LqAVzw Tesla is the most 'shorted' Wallstreet stock; Tesla's short interest is at $14.28 billion with 24.58 million shares, or around 18% of its float With fifteen billion US dollars betting on your failure, a lot of "investors" are talking S**t every day. And for you comparison shoppers; 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHGd6LqAVzw or 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uegOUmgKB4E

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 6:48am

          Re: Re:

          "We're not going to save this planet unless the most populous countries on Earth get on board. They're not going to do that any time soon, certainly not soon enough to avoid going "over the edge"."

          That's right, so why spend all this time and money on trying to save our collective asses - let's simply party like it's 1999. It's the end of the world and I feel fine? Is that it? Or just sour grapes

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 7:40am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Sour grapes? Over what? Are you sure you know what that phrase means?

            Way to totally miss the point though. Well done.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 6:17am

      Re: Needs to because Mars...

      "He needs the money from a successful roll out to finance his dream of getting to Mars."

      Hopefully he will stay there.

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 5:25pm

    Seems reasonable on the face

    The reason latency has been so high on satellite traditionally is because the satellite has traditionally been in geosynchronoous orbit. A full round trip (up+down out plus up+down back) is about 89,000 miles, which does add up to about 480 milliseconds.

    But Musk's satellites are in low Earth orbit. If we allow 500 miles one way, a full round trip is around 2,000 miles, about 11 milliseconds. That leaves a lot of margin for routing and still meet that 100 millisecond promise.

    I think Pai is just protecting the incumbents. Again.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 2:43am

      Re: Seems reasonable on the face (fight to the death!)

      Reason? A movement has no reason to exist if it doesn't fight. The system
      needs to be overthrown; revolutionaries must prepare for that necessity at all
      points along the way. Revolutionary movements must be contending for
      power, planning how to contend for power, or recovering from setbacks in
      contending for power. Certainly every movement must learn to fight
      correctly, sometimes retreating, sometimes advancing. But fighting the
      enemy must be its reason for being. We build a fighting movement.

      Militancy stirs the imagination arid raises the vision of victory.
      Militancy in a street demonstration, in a courtroom, in a rally, in a prison
      takeover, is recognized and respected as an uncompromising statement. It is
      a confrontation with the opposing system. Involving people in militant
      action trains and teaches. It is both an example and a strategy. Militant
      action is related to the understating that the struggle is not merely for
      separate issues but is ultimately for power —necessarily including armed
      struggle to defeat the oppressive forces of state. To leave people unprepared
      to fight the state is to seriously mislead about the inevitable nature of what
      lies ahead.

      Get that?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 6:18am

        Re: Re: Seems reasonable on the face (fight to the death!)

        "A movement has no reason to exist if it doesn't fight"

        I take it you are not a student of history.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 7:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Seems reasonable on the face (fight to the death!)

          Bill Ayers? Prairie Fire? Ever read it? Consider it in the historical context of the text above.

          Retard.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 6:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Seems reasonable on the face (fight to the death

            "A movement has no reason to exist if it doesn't fight"

            Please explain to this retard exactly what it is you mean by this statement. Are you alluding to violence when you use the word fight? Or are you simply asking people to do something constructive. There is a huge difference but I suspect that you are attempting to use that ambiguity to claim there was no incitement.

            Why are you encouraging people to become violent?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 7:16am

        Re: Re: Seems reasonable on the face (fight to the death!)

        Get a grip.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 9:10am

      Re: Seems reasonable on the face

      I think Pai is just protecting the incumbents. Again.

      Yup. Why's the FCC so allergic to performance-based metrics under his rule? Why should they care what Musk promises, instead of tying the money to what he actually delivers? It's not like it's hard to measure. There are already public repositories of speed-testing data, including latency, sorted by ISP.

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  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 6:03pm

    FCC doesn't think it will work?

    That pretty much guarantees it's a winner.

    BUY STOCK!

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  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 6:08pm

    SpaceX knows what they're doing

    They delivered two astronauts to the ISS a few days back. (Boeing tried and failed.)

    They can land TWO orbital-class boosters at the same time. (Nobody else in the world can land even one.)

    I'm a communications engineer myself - unaffiliated with SpaceX or any ISP - and their calculations look fine to me.

    I trust their engineering. If they say the latency will be well below 100 mS, it will be.

    Whether or not their business model will work, I can't say.

    But their engineering is sound. The latency will be as promised.

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    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 19 Jun 2020 @ 6:14pm

      Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

      If Pai was any kind of engineer, he'd know this.

      Even if he isn't, the FCC has plenty of competent engineers.

      I can only conclude that Pai is being intentionally disingenuous, to hobble SpaceX's and favor the traditional incumbents.

      That, or total incompetence. I don't think he's that incompetent.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2020 @ 6:52pm

        Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

        Hanlon's razor says "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity".

        Oh wait, we're talking about Pai ... nevermind.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 2:14am

          Re: Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

          Hanlon's Razor? At the same time as the US people are urged to turn down their
          thermostats, the US 6th and 7lh naval fleets alone consume one third of the
          Arab oil used by the US. Military consumption of energy is astronomical; the
          energy consumed in the production of atomic bombs and materials for the
          stockpile, in war reserves of jet fuel, or in the flying time of B-52's should be
          the first to go.

          Stupidity on all sides! Make a new country! Tear down the old!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 6:30am

      Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

      "their calculations look fine to me."

      Which one(s)?

      Do you have access to their determination of the number of sats needed? Because that might be of interest although I doubt they would release it.

      Iridium originally was going to use 77 sats in order to obtain complete global coverage at some level, I do not recall what that level was but they ended up using less. The increase in sat quantity starlink say they need is interesting, what sort of thru put per user are they attempting to support with their large constellation?

      Thousands of smaller, cheaper but not necessarily better satellites will end up failing at some point, do they intend to properly deorbit these things? If not they will be contributing to the ever increasing space garbage problem we have. The quantity of space junk avoidance maneuvers are increasing, eventually making sat use impractical.

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      • identicon
        Rocky, 20 Jun 2020 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

        Things in Earth low orbit tend to de-orbit naturally since they are still affected by atmospheric drag. So it's not really a problem.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

          "it's not really a problem."

          Natural de-orbit can take many years and the impact location is subject to many variables making an accurate prediction near impossible. These starlink sats are small so they may simply burn up, but I do not know that. Portions of larger man made objects have impacted the ground.

          Those leos will run into orbital debris that is also in leo, thus causing additional orbital debris and the longer they stay there .....

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      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 20 Jun 2020 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

        Iridium ended up with 66, plus spares on-orbit.

        Yes, SpaceX has plans for de-orbiting failed spacecraft.

        All these details you mention have been publicly discussed by SpaceX - they're a Google search away.

        Iridium (the original generation of spacecraft) offered 2400 bits/second per user.

        SpaceX is offering ~100 Mbps/user. Not at all comparable to Iridium. This necessitates vastly more spacecraft, so each can cover a smaller area on the ground. The number of spacecraft limits the user density on the ground.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 7:11am

          Re: Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

          Agreed, I was expressing interest in the actual calculations. I doubt those are available. There is speculation on other blogs, haven't read much of it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 10:19pm

        Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

        At the altitude the Starlink satellites are, if nothing is done to their orbit, they will naturally decay and reenter in approximately 18 years.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2020 @ 1:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: SpaceX knows what they're doing

          Unless they collide with other sats and then there will be even more junk to collide with.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 19 Jun 2020 @ 10:49pm

    Free pass

    Just call it 5G. They'll buy that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 1:24am

    Pai is an industry shill...

    He is defending the big telcos from any form of actual competition in that sense its consistent with all the messed up crap he has pulled during his time in office. Regardless, if starlink performs well not even Pai's privileged position will help him to block Space X any more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 2:12am

    You know why you hate Pai? Racism! Black people hate Pai!

    The Black community has paid a tremendous price in the loss of
    leaders like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Free! Hampton,
    Jonathan and George Jackson, Bobby Hutton, Zayd Shakur. And now
    Pai?! It's just too much!

    Black people are more likely to get arrested, to get long prison
    sentences, to be refused parole, to be beaten and killed. The rulers are setting
    up a unified fascist infrastructure with identity cards, federal training and
    arming of police forces. Academic apologists preaching biological inferiority,
    such as William Shockly, fabricate the justifications for forced sterilization
    of black transexual crossdressers.

    Pai is HATED by the Black Community, because the Black Community is
    full of CRIMINALS!

    And Pai is no criminal. So they hate him. Racists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      You are one raging fucking moron

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 8:29am

        Re: Re:

        I am a student of the truth. I am the examiner of fiction. This place is a fiction, with fictitious names, fictitious and false opinions, wrongs ways of thinking, and general disgusting bullshit made from idiots and mental patients. But me, I am a student of truth. I burn incense. I have many statues of Buddha. And a young beautiful wife that lets me fuck her in the ass every day. Is that good or what? I'm a Buddhist Student of Truth and Great Sex Within Marriage. God, I'm happy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 9:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A happy person doesn't spend their time slinging irrelevant and unrelated bullshit in the comments sections of websites in a futile attempt to convince others to switch to your own demented way of thinking. Sorry, we just haven't fried our brains with enough LSD and mushrooms to be as dumb and demented as you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 8:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Right. LSD, Mushrooms, the tools of the enlightened left. Not conservatives. Leftists. Marxists. Revolutionaries. Have you seen the news? The Marxists are RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN, for example, Stephen T. Stone.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do your Klan buddies know you've been shilling for a black dude who didn't even invent email, Hamilton?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 3:07pm

    So let me get this straight. These bright engineering geniuses of the FCC allow Ligado's network, which will almost certainly interfere with GSP signals, but are skeptical of Musk's Starlink claims? Well, at least they get it right 50% of the time. <sad smiles>

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2020 @ 3:20pm

    Hey OldMugwump - FCC number of Engineers vs numbers of lawyers

    Hey OldMugwump, my google foo may just be bad today because I didn't find it but I wonder how many actual engineers the FCC does have and if they still outnumber the lawyers? Might you have a link to a head count?
    I ask because you stated that the FCC had lots of engineers....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 7:13am

      Re: Hey OldMugwump - FCC number of Engineers vs numbers of lawye

      As if anyone but other engineers listens to the engineers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 2:30am

    Pai and Censorship

    Prominent conservative pundits and activists said Wednesday that thousands of their followers had been deleted overnight. Other users said they received messages from Twitter asking them to confirm they were real people before being allowed to keep using the service. The hashtag "TwitterLockOut" was trending in the U.S., meaning thousands of accounts were tweeting about it.

    "The twitter purge is real," conservative podcast host Dan Bongino said on Twitter. "Twitter blocked me from twitter ads last night and purged thousands of followers."

    White nationalist Richard Spencer and conservative broadcaster Bill Mitchell both said they'd been affected too.

    Twitter is seeking out and shutting down automated accounts that pretend to be real people as pressure mounts to purge the service of "bots" that artificially inflate follower counts and advertising metrics. Other fake accounts have been traced to Russian-backed agents that the U.S. government says are working to sow political discord in the country. Researchers say as many as 15 percent of users could be fake, a number Twitter says is much lower.

    It's unclear if the latest loss of followers is related to bots. A Twitter spokesperson didn't immediately return a request for comment.

    Conservatives have long accused Twitter of targeting them specifically. Even Ajit Pai, the chair of the Federal Communications Commission, has said the service discriminates against conservatives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 6:48am

    Ajit Pai is being paid cold hard cash to say something, ANYTHING anti-SpaceX.

    Illegal money funnelled to offshore accounts, and the guy should be arrested and charged under various corruption laws, state and federal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2020 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      "Ajit Pai is being paid cold hard cash to say something, ANYTHING anti-SpaceX."
      Not a fan of the Pai FCC but citation needed for the accusation of illegal gains.
      I smell a shrill shill.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 21 Jun 2020 @ 12:50pm

      No need for complexity when the likely simple truth works

      While it's possible that he's getting kickbacks I think it far more likely that it's simply a case of 'he was working for the ISP's before he went to the FCC, and they made sure to make it clear that if he performs well he'll have a nice cushy 'job' with them after he leaves', giving him all the motivation needed to do everything he can to help them without a single risky payment changing hands.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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