CRTC grants licence to Elon Musk's new rural satellite internet project

Oct 20 2020, 11:08 pm

Canada’s telecom regulator has approved a licence for Elon Musk’s space company to begin building a satellite internet network serving rural areas in the country.

Space Exploration Technologies Inc. applied for the Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) licences back in May, and the CRTC granted them in an October 15 letter to Space X’s CFO Bret Johnsen.

More than 2,500 Canadians wrote to the regulator about the application, many of them rural Canadians asking the CRTC to approve the project that might get them faster internet service.

“There has to be a better option for rural internet. This is it. Please allow this to go through,” said Patryk Wegrzyn from Trenton, Ontario.

Starlink, Space X’s internet project, aims to launch a network of low-orbiting satellites to bring high-speed internet to rural areas around the world. It plans to first establish service in Canada and the northern US before expanding overseas.

“Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable,” the company says on its website.

The CRTC said that the BITS licences are just the first step, and don’t yet allow Starlink to operate as a carrier or internet service provider. For that, further applications are needed.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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