After months of consideration, the Federal Communications Commission has granted SpaceX a license for up to a million terminals that would work on the ground with the company’s Starlink satellite constellation to deliver global broadband internet service.
Word of the 15-year license’s approval came in a public notice issued by the FCC on Wednesday. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has described the plug-and-point terminals, which are made in California, as looking like a “thin, flat, round UFO on a stick.”
SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are being made at the company’s facilities in Redmond, Wash., reportedly at the rate of six per day. About 360 satellites have been sent into low Earth orbit so far, and thousands more are expected to launch in the months and years to come. Limited service could begin as early as this year.
It’s not clear what effect the coronavirus outbreak may have on the Starlink development schedule. Buzzfeed News reported today that at least one SpaceX employee in Redmond has gone into isolation because the employee’s partner tested positive for the virus. We’ve reached out to SpaceX for comment and will update this report with anything we hear back.