The 5Gfor12GHz Coalition fired back at SpaceX today in response to what the coalition called a “misinformation campaign” about SpaceX Starlink satellite broadband service. The coalition also critiqued a recent SpaceX report that argues that a proposed rule change for the 12 GHz spectrum band would create harmful interference for Starlink.
SpaceX is one of several companies that currently use the 12 GHz spectrum band for downstream communications. The 5Gfor12GHz Coalition has asked the FCC to allow two-way communications in the band so that the spectrum could be used for 5G service.
Among the coalition members are at least two companies that have 12 GHz licenses, including Dish, which uses the spectrum for its satellite video service, and RS Access, which uses the spectrum for fixed wireless service.
Dish has committed to deploying a nationwide 5G network and would like to repurpose its 12 GHz spectrum for 5G. RS Access also would like to repurpose at least some of its spectrum.
The coalition also has 32 other members, including fixed wireless providers, equipment makers, public interest groups and provider associations.
What the coalition calls a “misinformation campaign” is a reference to SpaceX’s efforts to get subscribers to ask the FCC and elected officials not to allow the rule change for the 12 GHz band. According to PC Mag, the FCC received 70,000 messages in the first few days after SpaceX made its request.
A SpaceX draft message to legislators said the rule change would create widespread interference with Starlink service.
A 5Gfor12GHz Coalition press release disputes that claim. According to the release, SpaceX’s arguments are based on a flawed study that assumed unrealistic conditions. The coalition noted, for example, that the study was based on a single market and that it assumed way more cellsites than carriers would deploy. The study also assumed that 54% of SpaceX satellite terminals would be in urban and suburban areas which, according to the coalition, is contrary to the company’s business model of focusing primarily on rural areas.
The coalition cited a study commissioned by RS Access and written by an independent engineering firm that found that satellite downlinks and 5G could co-exist. SpaceX conducted its own study, the coalition noted.
The SpaceX “misinformation campaign . . . promulgates an anti-5G narrative that is harmful to American consumers who deserve greater competition, connectivity options and innovation,” the coalition said.
Ultimately, it will be up to the FCC to determine whose study is the correct one. The commission has strong incentives to allow 5G use in the band, as well as strong incentives not to allow a rule change that would harm incumbent users of the spectrum.
In the meantime, the huge response that SpaceX was able to generate from its customers may be an example of how positively perceived the company remains – even if those perceptions are sometimes misplaced.
A PC Mag survey last year found, for example, that the majority of respondents believed Starlink service to be faster than that of nationwide ISPs such as Comcast Xfinity, Verizon Fios, and Charter Spectrum – a belief that Telecompetitor readers know is untrue.