SpaceX granted basic telecom license in Canada

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) is granting Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX, a Basic International Telecommunications Service license (BITS).

In an Oct. 15 letter to Bret Johnsen, chief financial officer of Space Exploration Technologies, the CRTC said it granted the license “after consideration of the comments received.” A BITS license allows a company to provide international telecommunication services but does not allow it to operate as an internet service provider within the issuing nation.

SpaceX had filed a request for a BITS license in June 2020 with the aim of eventually providing internet service to remote areas in Canada.

The CRTC noted that it has received 2,585 interventions regarding the company’s BITS application.

The CRTC’s letter clarified that “all entities who provide services as a facilities-based carrier must at all times comply with the appropriate regulatory framework, including the ownership and control requirements of section 16 of the Act and the Canadian Telecommunications Common Carrier Ownership and Control Regulations.”

SpaceX’s Starlink program operates a network of low-orbit satellites that can beam internet to anywhere on Earth. On Sunday, the company launched 60 more satellites, expanding its fleet count to 835. There’s still a ways to go for ubiquitous global coverage, however, as SpaceX wants to launch at least 120 new satellites every month and eventually deploy 12,000 satellites to low-orbit.

SpaceX claimed that its Starlink program can provide 100Mbps downlink with a 30ms latency. At this speed, it would take about a second to download a 10MB file. Although satellites can deliver internet to areas that don’t allow for radio towers, they’re also more susceptible to interference from inclement weather.

Above, a row of Starlink Satellites march through the night sky over Leiden, Netherlands in 2019. Video credit: Marco Langbroek, Vimeo.

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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