The rocket and spacecraft-building company founded by Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk has applied for a telecom licence in Canada, according to a regulatory filing.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is seeking a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) licence, which would authorize the company to carry telecommunications traffic between Canada and another country, according to the website of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
The move could potentially help the company with its plans to bring high-speed internet to remote parts of Canada.
SpaceX has launched several “Starlink” missions, which are intended to deliver satellites into space that could then be used to provide high-speed broadband internet to places that may not currently have such service available, accessible or affordable to them.
The Starlink program’s website also says it is “targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.”
SpaceX’s application, a notice of which was posted on May 20, has garnered a number of supportive submissions to the regulator.
One such message was from Kenneth Flack, a municipal councillor for Pointe-Fortune, Que., who wrote that the absence of high-speed internet “severely limits the community to participate fully as a connected member of society,” including for businesses, children and seniors who may be isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” Flack wrote. “The Space X – Starlink Internet Services project as a whole, specifically benefits those most in need, and the most disadvantaged.”
The Space X – Starlink Internet Services project as a whole, specifically benefits those most in need, and the most disadvantaged
Kenneth Flack, municipal councillor
The CRTC’s deadline for comments on the application is Friday.
SpaceX said it launched its eighth Starlink mission on June 3, which included “the first Starlink satellite with a deployable visor to block sunlight from hitting the brightest spots of the spacecraft.”
Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX was also behind a recent first, as astronauts from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched in one of the company’s spacecraft in May.
It was the first time in history that NASA astronauts “have launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station,” the agency said.