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SpaceX submitted an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in May, to apply for a license to offer Starlink satellite broadband internet. SpaceX is looking forward to providing internet service globally, primarily in places where internet is unreliable and unavailable. Millions around the world still lack access to affordable internet in their homes. Starlink customers will receive connection via user dish terminals that will be easy to set-up.
Obtaining a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) license in Canada has been a long process for SpaceX. Over the past months, the company faced opposition from competitors as the regulatory agency assessed whether to give SpaceX a license. Canadian residents and some political figures showed support for SpaceX, and questioned why the company had not received approval to provide Starlink broadband Service.
In June, over 2,000 of Canadian residents voiced their support for SpaceX Starlink in the Canadian Telecommunications Commission website, including the municipal councilor for Pointe-Fortune, Quebec, Canada, Kenneth Flack. "I encourage the CRTC to accelerate the acceptance of this application for provisioning of services such as this without delay, as it will also provide the capability for our communities to deal with and recover from this pandemic. The SpaceX – Starlink Internet Services project as a whole, specifically benefits those most in need, and the most disadvantaged," Flack said in a letter to the regulatory agency around four months ago.
In September, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) Board of Directors held a meeting to discuss their support for bringing SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet service to Canada. “The Board adopted a resolution during a recent meeting in Hearst, held both electronically and in-person, supporting Starlink, a satellite internet service that’s being developed by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX),” FONOM representatives wrote in a press release. “The Resolution also calls on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to permit and expand the company a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) license.” --- “We know today our citizens require greater connectivity than 50/10 megabits per second,” the President of FONOM Danny Whalen said in a statement. “FONOM believes that the Starlink program is our best option.”
Early October, Canadian conservative politician James Cumming, who is the shadow Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry questioned fellow politicians during a conference, 'What's the hold up' on giving SpaceX their license? -- "Mr. Speaker the rural broadband expansion has been an unmitigated disaster," he said, "We've heard plenty of big plans from the Liberals over the past 5 years but very little delivery and many unsatisfied internet users. However, a new entrant, SpaceX, may be able to offer connectivity that rural Canadians and their businesses have been desperately needing. They aren't asking for a single cent - just for their license to be approved. When will the Minister get busy and give it the green light?"
On October 14, Canadians created an official petition that was shared on social media asking government authorites to ask the regulatory agency to grant SpaceX Starlink a license. In less than three days, the petition gathered over 2,000 signatures from residents living across the country. After all the support SpaceX received, on October 15, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) finally granted the company a license to provide Starlink satellite broadband internet. "The Commission received 2585 interventions regarding Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s BITS application. After consideration of the comments received, the Commission has approved the application and a BITS licence is enclosed," Claude Doucet, the Secretary General at CRTC wrote in an approval letter to SpaceX. Now, Starlink’s "telecommunications traffic between Canada and any other country" can be transmitted, the filing reads. SpaceX officials target to begin offering Starlink internet in Southern Canada and Northern United States before this year comes to an end. Submit your e-mail via Starlink.com to receive updates of when the service will be available in your area.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.