In a joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the companies SpaceX and OneWeb indicated that they had entered into a coexistence agreement. In other words, the two satellite Internet access providers want to agree to efficiently operate their constellations of small satellites in non-geostationary low orbit.
“After extensive good faith coordination discussions, the parties are pleased to inform the Panel that they agree that their respective first generation systems can effectively coexist with each other and that their second generation systems can also effectively coexist with each other while protecting their respective already deployed systems”we can read in this letter.
The US telecommunications regulator is clearly starting to worry about the number of constellation projects swarming the satellite internet market, with players such as Space Norway, Telesat and Amazon (the Kuiper project) all looking to send low-orbit satellites for identical purposes. However, this increases the risk of collision, but also generates disturbances in space observation.
Both SpaceX and OneWeb are taking the opportunity to ask the FCC to quickly approve their plans for their second-generation satellites and constellations. They ensure that all the comments and attacks previously made against each other are no longer valid. Clashes that might have helped worry the commission.
Thousands of satellites have already been launched and more are waiting
The FCC had authorized the two companies to launch their service in 2016. SpaceX – which markets its offering under the name Starlink – and OneWeb now plan to begin deploying their second-generation satellites to support the build-out of their respective networks to both improve their planetary coverage and increase speeds for the benefit of users.
To date, Starlink relies on more than 2,500 satellites already deployed at an altitude of about 550 km (and plans to launch thousands more), while OneWeb settles for 428 satellites at about 1,200 km, with the ambition to quickly reach 650 vehicles in orbit .
During our October 2021 Starlink test in France, we observed speeds ranging between 120 and 300 Mb/s (between 11 and 25 Mb/s upstream speed) for a latency of between 42 and 52 ms. A gift for everyone who lives very far from a fiber optic line and has to make do with a few Mb/s with the wind at their back in xDSL. Under favorable conditions, OneWeb now offers performance of around 170 Mb/s download and 30 Mb/s upload for 45 ms ping.