SpaceX Seeks Starlink Expansion in the U.K., Reveals Filing

SpaceX has filed applications to deploy six new Starlink ground stations in the United Kingdom to improve coverage and help meet user demand in the nation — reports SpaceNews.

Starlink is a high-speed broadband internet service from SpaceX powered by a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). The service is designed to provide affordable internet at viable speeds anywhere and everywhere across the globe.

SpaceX already has three non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) Earth stations across the British Isles, and the company has requested U.K. communications authority Ofcom to grant licenses for six more.

Ofcom on Tuesday launched a public consultation on SpaceX’s proposed expansion. The regulator has fortified NGSO license requirements with new assessments for interference and competition risks since SpaceX obtained approval for its three current gateways.

The public consultation is open for responses to SpaceX’s request until July 19.

The wireless spectrum available to NGSO license holders includes Ka-band uplink frequencies, but SpaceX also wants to use some 28GHz spectrum for Starlink.

“SpaceX have confirmed that they have the necessary commercial arrangements with 28GHz Licence Holders in the locations they are seeking to operate,” Ofcom said in the consultation document.

According to the authority, SpaceX is the only company currently operating NGSO gateways in Britain. The rocketry giant has been in talks with the U.K. to solve the country’s broadband issues since last year.

Ofcom also said it does not think SpaceX’s application poses any competition risks and would not block future gateways from other NGSO operators.

“Our preliminary assessment is that granting these licences would increase the availability of high-quality broadband services, which would be beneficial for UK consumers,” the regulator said.

Ofcom is expected to render a decision on SpaceX’s expansion application by September 15.