DISH Network Sues SpaceX to Halt Starlink Gen2 Deployment

DISH Network has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to prevent the company from deploying its second-generation Starlink satellites (via PCMag).

In early December, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave SpaceX conditional approval to launch 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites (a fraction of the company’s original ask of 30,000) to improve the speeds and coverage of its satellite broadband service.

However, DISH is suing to overturn the FCC’s decision over claims that Starlink Gen2 satellites will cause interference with its satellite TV service.

“The order leaves millions of families receiving satellite television service from Dish in the same frequency band vulnerable to interference. It is unlawful and should be set aside for several reasons,” the television and satellite service provider said in its court filing.

The International Dark-Sky Association, an environmental group working against light pollution, has also filed a separate lawsuit to prevent SpaceX from deploying its second-gen Starlink constellation. According to the nonprofit group, Starlink Gen2 satellites will generate too much light in the night sky.

The International Dark-Sky Association also argued that, in accordance with federal laws, the FCC should have ordered an environmental review of SpaceX’s Starlink Gen2 proposal before approving it.

“It is unprecedented for IDA to resort to the court system to resolve disputes. But in this case, we felt compelled to act,” the organization said in a statement.

DISH, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a series of legal and regulatory battles against SpaceX as of late.

Last year, the satellite provider petitioned the FCC to retask part of the 12 GHz spectrum for its planned 5G cellular network. However, SpaceX opposed DISH’s proposal because it would have caused “harmful interference” with Starlink and led to service outages.

SpaceX was joined by fellow satellite internet provider OneWeb in opposing DISH’s 5G play. In October 2022, SpaceX said that DISH’s 12 GHz spectrum plans could be more harmful to Starlink than previously thought.

According to a Thursday court filing from SpaceX, the company has requested to defend the FCC’s approval of its satellite deployment before the Appeals Court.

SpaceX already launched the first batch of its second-gen satellites into orbit last month. What’s more, many more Starlink Gen2 satellites could be deployed by the time the courts reach a decision on either of the lawsuits.