back to article SpaceX: 5G expansion could kill US Starlink broadband

If the proposed addition of the 12GHz spectrum to 5G goes forward, Starlink broadband terminals across America could be crippled, or so SpaceX has complained.  The Elon Musk biz made the claim [PDF] this week in a filing to the FCC, which is considering allowing Dish to operate a 5G service in the 12GHz band (12.2-12.7GHz). …

  1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Surely if you can get interference from a Dish signal, you can also get a signal from the same Dish network and not bother with Starling.

  2. Uncle Ron

    Don't Forget

    Don't ever forget that the cable-owned FCC specifically excluded the cell business from limitations on data-caps, throttling, and metered billing. People will be charged by the drink for watching movies, TV, ball games, and all of it, if they rely on 5G for their broadband. Their old cable TV bills will look quaint compared to the multiple hundreds per month they will be charged for 5G. I'm being charged $80 per month today for 50 GB of 5G per month. Currently, I use about 900 GB per month on my cable-delivered home internet for streaming TV, movies, ball games and all surfing. NINE HUNDRED GB. Do the math. It takes 4-5 GB to watch a single movie, and 7-9 GB to watch a baseball game.

    IMO Starlink is under NO threat from 5G. I wish ElReg would get smarter before running inflammatory, click-bait stories like this.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Don't Forget

      The complaint is not about price competition. It is about RF interference. _If_ "funding secured" can be believed this time, you would have the choice between paying a medium amount for a Starlink service that doesn't work or a large amount for 5G.

      1. AdmFubar

        Re: Don't Forget

        It is about business interference. Ol' mucky musk doesn't want any competition. Nothing like a "genius" boy getting show up by a competitor.

        1. xyz123 Bronze badge

          Re: Don't Forget

          You know post history is publically available right?

          You've been anti-musk even when he's only a tangent to the story.

          I wonder why?

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Don't Forget

            Indeed, he should be more like me. I hate Starlink and Musk, but I also hate 5G, so I'm neutral on this one.

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Don't Forget

      "IMO Starlink is under NO threat from 5G."

      Care to share your analysis with us?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Don't Forget


    3. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Don't Forget

      Starlink is doing ok in the US largely due to the way the market is structured keeping prices ludicrously high. In the UK however I can get full fiber 100Mbps uncapped for £25 per month (>$31) with more bandwidth available for a little more should I need it. This makes Starlink unattractive long term as fiber rolls out to all but the most remote areas, and 5G will be a strong contender for them. Much of the world is little different with the notable exception of the US. Starlink in the US faces the problem that as it rolls out and proves the demand in rural US, other carriers will be able to move in and undercut them by a wide margin, with or without data caps. We know this is economically possible as it has been proven in the rest of the world.

      1. xyz Silver badge

        Re: Don't Forget

        Yeah but you're forgetting that England is small and overcrowded, whereas the rest of the planet, apart from cities, is sparsely populated and needs some other form of comms. My house in the village 6kms from my farm has 300mbps fibre and 5G etc but out here in the woods, no mobile signal, no nothing, hence Starlink run off solar, mesh WiFi and LoRa. This is not for fun, this is to improve crop productivity, so you can slob in front of your streaming telly with a full belly.

        1. Persona Silver badge

          Re: Don't Forget

          No I'm not forgetting that. England still has a low level of fiber compared to many countries. Lots of the planet including some quite underdeveloped ones have a far higher level. It works out because fiber is much more robust and cheaper to maintain than traditional copper telephone wires. At some point it becomes cheaper for the phone companies to adopt fiber. This is especially true in some countries where copper wires get stolen almost as quickly as they are replaced.

      2. Rob Daglish

        Re: Don't Forget

        I do agree to a point, but at the speed openleach are moving, a medium term Starlink subscription might not be the worst thing I've ever done, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Could we please bring back the dial-up?

    Imagine how much better the internet would be. No more bloat, no more scrolling, no more excessive tracking, lower power consumption...

    1. AdmFubar

      Re: 56k

      That internet is still here made even better. It is called Gemini

    2. Brad16800

      Re: 56k

      Interesting thought but my only complaint would be the hour long wait for line by line view of softcore porn.

      Internet isn't perfect but...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: 56k

        What else do you have going on in your life that stretching those 30 seconds back out to two hours would interfere with?

    3. Charles Smith

      Re: 56k

      OMG I can still hear that dial tone warble of a 56K modem. Please stop.

    4. ridley

      Re: 56k

      Dial up & Fax was alive and well in a field in Herefordshire recently.


    5. Persona Silver badge

      Re: 56k

      I remember using an acoustic modem doing 300 baud over a Transatlantic phone line. That was a very time consuming business. I don't want to go back to that.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: 56k

        I remember using BBSes over 300-baud modems well, but that's partly because we use Teams at work, and it simulates the experience with great fidelity.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: 56k

        "I remember using an acoustic modem doing 300 baud over a Transatlantic phone line."

        Did have to call the International Operator to book the call in advance? :-)

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    The private SpaceX investors aren't going to be happy if they're hearing about Starlink not having exclusive access to it's RF band after they've invested.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      That's life.

      You are born wet, cold and hungry, and then it all goes downhill from there.

  5. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Move Fast

    I assume that the "Move Fast and Break Things" approach so beloved by the likes of Musk only counts if it's not your stuff that's being broken

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Move Fast

      It applies to breaking your *own* things, not other people's

  6. Berny Stapleton

    Regional access

    Why not setup a location based license for the frequency? As the difference here is 13 miles from the base, couldn't Dish use 5G is the cities and then leave Starlink to run the rest of regional US?

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Regional access

      Shirley the point of anyone's satellite internet is that it will work anywhere. "I've driven into the city, now I need to pay somebody else too" doesn't exactly cut it.

      1. Chris 239

        Re: Regional access

        I would agree except that I doubt Starlink on your RV will work very well in the canyon between skyscrapers... (it wasn't me that downvoted you).

  7. Charles Smith


    5G is essentially an urban network technology with the need for many masts given its limited range and poor penetration of structures. Starlink is more of a rural network needing few if any ground masts, more suited to open landscape. In effect they are complimentary technologies rather than competing.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Range?

      That would be true in the conventional sense of "competing". In the US mobile industry it has a different meaning, I think, more akin to "It's mine, all mine."

  8. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge


    The FCC does exist to prevent two people trying to use the same frequencies like this.

    After what Starlink has done to Astronomy, all I have to say is the 'S' word.

    1. DevOpsTimothyC

      Re: Well

      The FCC does exist to prevent two people trying to use the same frequencies like this.

      The problem here is that in the April 2021 FCC grant, the FCC has already given this part of the spectrum to SpaceX.

      Look at the linked PDF in paragraph 48 they discussed it (where objections were raised) and in paragraphs 96d, 96e and 96f they grant the 12Ghz spectrum to SpaceX.

      Looking at the PDF (paragraph 96) it appears they have granted 10.7GHz-13.25GHz to SpaceX in one shape or form. In the lower parts of that they have to co-ordinate with Radio Telescopes, in the upper parts it seems to be shared with other ground station to satellite, but critically in the 12GHz range there doesn't appear to be any provisions to share

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Well

      The FCC does exist to prevent two people trying to use the same frequencies like this sell the same thing twice.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: Well

        If you worked at the FCC you'd probably get marked down in your annual appraisal if you limited your ambitions to "twice".

  9. Trotts36

    They really hate musk

    To the point they’ll cripple his business venture.

  10. Marty McFly Silver badge

    This Bravo-Sierra is funny!

    The nearest 2G, 3G, or 4G one-bar signal is an 8-mile drive from my home. OMG, 5G interference is going to nuke Starlink. Yeah, right. No doubt the Telcos will get right on that in my area.

    Starlink IS for customers like me who have been left to twist in the wind with no service. Go ahead, cause interference in high-density urban environments. That is not where Starlink is competing.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The faster Musk is bankrupted the better, he's a force for evil.

  12. Tron Silver badge

    Didn't the FCC recently drop the ball on 5G masts near US airports?

    I am not convinced of the general benefits of 5G. And I would be happier if Smartphones came in two parts, with a removable xG unit, so you could use the same kit each time they upgrade from a widespread, already-fast-enough service to a faster one that you can only access in a few select places.

    I have fond memories of connecting to a fellow Speccy user in the next town using the terminal software that came with the VTX5000 (1200/75bps). It did actually work. PRESTEL and Micronet 800 were the precursors of the web in the UK. Plus you could use the VTX unit for WarGames related activities.

    The POTS copper network should be retained as a strategic national asset. Getting rid of it to save BT a few quid is like Beeching's rail cuts.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Didn't the FCC recently drop the ball on 5G masts near US airports?

      "The POTS copper network should be retained as a strategic national asset. Getting rid of it to save BT a few quid is like Beeching's rail cuts."

      Not sure... it's not like the majority of the network is copper anyway - even in the last mile there are plenty of aluminium cables as well.

      What's the strategic national interest in copper over fibre?

      Beechings cuts were disastrous because the prevented people accessing the mainline, so alternative forms of transport became necessary, and at that point easier to use that alternative for the whole journey.

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