The United Kingdom’s broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal industries are regulated and subject to competitive oversight by the Office of Communications, or Ofcom as it is more often known. The television, radio, telecom, and postal industries are all within the broad jurisdiction of Ofcom.
Elon Musk’s Starlink has pushed the UK’s telecoms authority to scrap its new satellite licensing framework, as the billionaire tries to cover Britain’s skies with low-Earth orbit constellations.
Consumer internet access is provided by Mr. Musk’s business, which claims Ofcom should “reconsider” its recently approved licensing requirements and go back to a “light-touch” approach.
In response to the competition among space corporations to fill the sky with “low-earth orbit” satellites, the UK’s telecoms regulator recently toughened its regulations for satellite operators. The regulations allow Ofcom the authority to intervene in cases of interference that may result in subpar customer service.
However, Starlink stated that Ofcom should abandon its new regulation and return to its previous strategy, which had been “effectively adopted in the UK until months ago.” Starlink also cautioned against introducing “administrative overhead and regulatory delays.”
In order to avoid direct regulator interference, Mr. Musk’s company advised Ofcom to rely on “discussions between operators.” In the event that operators reject a deal, the watchdog should implement “default spectrum sharing policies” rather than letting Ofcom serve as a mediator, it was stated.
Rivals continue to be worried that permitting Starlink and other satellite systems to expand unrestrictedly may cause problems with their networks. Industry insiders cautioned against “no holds barred” satellite development in the absence of an Ofcom license.
With plans for up to 42,000, Starlink has already deployed 2,500 satellites into orbit. Through consumer satellite dishes known as “Dishy McFlatface” that are provided by Mr. Musk’s business, these satellites offer broadband connectivity. The monthly cost of the company’s broadband service is £89, while the dish costs £529. The fee of Starlink’s subscription went up by 10% earlier this year.
According to its new licensing policy, Starlink is required to submit applications to Ofcom and competitors for review for 6 satellite ground stations that will connect its satellite network to the internet’s core infrastructure.
The satellite firm already runs ground stations at Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, Goonhilly in Cornwall, and the Isle of Man. Six other locations, including those in Bedford, Hampshire, Suffolk, Kent, and Cambridgeshire, are planned to be added.
Starlink also urged for a swift increase in the amount of spectrum allocated to satellite operators in its filing, which would offer the business more room to grow and enable faster downloads. Rivals have cautioned that certain satellite constellations are trying to cover the night sky without restriction, even if Starlink is eager for Ofcom to relax its license requirements.