SpaceX cuts broadband-satellite altitude in half to prevent space debris

An illustration of the Earth, with lines circling the globe to represent a telecommunications network.

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risk of space debris and improve latency.

SpaceX’s satellite project, named Starlink, aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband around the world. In a statement on the new FCC approval, SpaceX said that “Starlink production is well underway, and the first group of satellites have already arrived at the launch site for processing.”

SpaceX last year received FCC approval to launch 4,425 low-Earth-orbit satellites at several different altitudes between 1,110km to 1,325km. However, the FCC approval was contingent on SpaceX filing a more detailed debris mitigation plan.

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Calif. enacts net neutrality law—US gov’t immediately sues to block it [Updated]

A woman outside a federal building in Los Angeles holds a sign reading,

Enlarge / Net neutrality supporter protests the FCC’s repeal outside a federal building in Los Angeles, California, on November 28, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Ronen Tivony | NurPhoto)

signed net neutrality legislation into law, setting up a legal showdown pitting his state against Internet service providers and the US government.

The California net neutrality bill, previously approved by the state Assembly and Senate despite protests from AT&T and cable lobbyists, imposes rules similar to those previously enforced by the FCC.

“While the Trump administration does everything in its power to undermine our democracy, we in California will continue to do what’s right for our residents,” California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), author of the net neutrality bill, said today.

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FCC data exaggerates broadband access on tribal lands

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new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

FCC data collection was already known to be suspect throughout the US, not just in tribal areas, which in turn makes it difficult for the FCC to target deployment funding to the areas that need it most. Tribal lands have less broadband access than most other parts of the US and thus may be disproportionately affected by the FCC’s data collection problems.

“Residents of tribal lands have lower levels of broadband Internet access relative to the US as a whole, but the digital divide may be greater than currently thought,” the GAO wrote. “FCC data overstated tribes’ broadband availability and access to broadband service. These overstatements limit FCC and tribal users’ ability to target broadband funding to tribal lands.”

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T-Mobile/Sprint merger will bring higher prices, small carriers tell FCC

A T-Mobile logo on the window of a retail store.

Enlarge / A T-Mobile logo on the window of a retail store in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Rural Wireless Association (RWA), NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, and other groups filed petitions urging the Federal Communications Commission to block the T-Mobile/Sprint merger this week.

“Removing Sprint from the equation through further industry consolidation will result in less competition which will drive prices higher for consumers, and would be decidedly contrary to the public interest,” the RWA said. The FCC is required to evaluate whether mergers benefit the public.

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Ajit Pai admits FCC lied about “DDoS,” blames it on Obama administration

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at Fox Studios on November 10, 2017 in New York City. (credit: Getty Images | John Lamparski )

statement yesterday. “It has become clear that in addition to a flawed comment system, we inherited from the prior Administration a culture in which many members of the Commission’s career IT staff were hesitant to express disagreement with the Commission’s former CIO in front of FCC management,” he also said.

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ISPs’ listed speeds drop up to 41% after UK requires accurate advertising

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accurate speed claims, according to a consumer advocacy group.

“Eleven major suppliers have had to cut the advertised speed of some of their deals, with the cheapest deals dropping by 41 percent,” the group wrote last week.

The analysis was conducted by Which?, a brand name used by the Consumers’ Association, a UK-based charity that does product research and advocacy on behalf of consumers.

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