Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has proposed to clear SpaceX’s application to offer broadband services through the use of low-Earth orbit satellite systems, Ars Technica reported Thursday.
Pai said in a statement issued Wednesday the approval of SpaceX’s application will help create more competition when it comes to providing terrestrial internet services and expand broadband access in rural and remote areas across the U.S.
The chairman’s proposal comes as SpaceX prepares to send two demonstration satellites into orbit on Saturday, Feb. 17, as part of the initial broadband testing phase for its Starlink service.
The company will launch its Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b non-geostationary orbit test satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket to test the satellite bus, associated subsystems and ground- and space-based phased array platforms.
FCC previously approved satellite broadband service applications from OneWeb, Telesat and Space Norway.