Facebook could soon have its own satellite-constellation delivering internet; to compete with StarLink and OneWeb

While SpaceX is in the process of putting up its internet constellation, StarLink, into the lower Earth orbit, Facebook might have started proceedings of its own to deliver internet from orbit.

Reports point out to a retracted FCC application which outlines the plan of an experimental satellite from a mysterious company which has been linked to the social media giant.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The report by IEEE Spectrum, says that the plans detailed about a secretive satellite named ‘Athena’ which uses high-frequency millimetre-wave radio signals to deliver faster speeds. The mysterious company which had filed the plans with the FCC is called PointView Tech LLC. It reportedly exists only on paper and might actually be a subsidiary of Facebook.

So how does Facebook link with PointView?  The report states that the lawyer who had filed an application with the FCC for PointView Tech is the same lawyer who has written applications previously for Facebook.

There is also the fact that PointView Tech reportedly stated that one of its ground stations is at an anonymous business park in the Northridge part of Los Angeles, where Facebook had leased about 80,000 square feet of area for an office. Now the report states that Facebook is hiring people with communications and connectivity background for the same office.

Elon Musk’s ambitious StarLink project and Richard Branson-backed OneWeb are in the process of offering internet services from orbit, which is believed to be the future of internet connectivity. StarLink will have nearly 11,000 satellites orbiting the lower Earth orbit, while OneWeb will have somewhere near 2,500.

However, while StarLink and OneWeb have promised Gigabit LTE speeds using their satellite constellation, Athena can deliver 10 times more speed at 10 Gbps. A CNET report states that Athena’s ‘high-frequency millimetre-wave radio signals’ is the same technology which will power 5G networks in the coming years.

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