Elon Musk could soon fix all of Australia’s internet woes.
Australia’s telecommunications regulator has given initial approval for Musk’s SpaceX to operate its Starlink satellite network in the country.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) added SpaceX Services to its “Foreign Space Objects Determination” list, according to government filings.
Adding Space X to the list means the company can apply crucial licenses required to communicate between its satellites and “earth stations”.
Capital has been slowing growing for the ambitious project, with Space X receiving A$1.9 billion in funding last year for the ambitions project.
Over 240 Starlink broadband satellites have already been launched, with SpaceX planning to add two batches of 60 Starlink satellites per month.
Connections will begin once the company has at least 360 satellites in orbit, with the final plan seeing 12,000 small satellites providing high-speed internet to anywhere in the world.
Knowing there are technological challenges to building and distributing such a large-scale network, Space X estimated “it will cost the company about $10 billion or more” to complete.
Just like with the US, Space X has promised the network will “offer satellite-based broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users throughout Australia”.
Although Space X has been given approval, it will also face competition from satellite operators Kepler Communications and Swarm Technologies, which the ACMA also added to the “Foreign Space Objects Determination” list.
Mystery remains over the effectiveness of the service, however SpaceX said it would be able to offer speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second for users, at “low cost” in a 2016 filing with the US federal communications commission.
Elon Musk previously added customers would need to buy antennas to connect to the services, which would “self-adjust” to an optimal angle to communicate with satellites in the sky.
Starlink’s plans have been hit with criticism from Foxtel, which wrote a letter of protest to the ACMA regarding the plan.
“This is a crucial link in our product delivery chain, and the consequences of interference, outages or degradations of margin are at the highest end of the spectrum of consequences for a business such as Foxtel,” the company wrote.
“We hold very high levels of concern regarding the interference potential.”
NBN has two satellites servicing over 96,000 homes and businesses in regional and rural Australia, however speeds are significantly less than that promised on Starlink.
The government-owned corporation has previously hinted at moving toward a Space X-style system when the current satellites are due to be replaced in five years.