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SpaceX: No Software Fix for 12GHz 5G Interference

Battle for Spectrum Continues as Dish, SpaceX Make Their Case to the Public

SpaceX is unhappy about recent Dish Network developments that could inhibit operation of their Starlink internet service. 

The band in question lies in the 12GHz region that Dish intends to use as the base of a 5G network, and according to SpaceX spokesman David Goldman there is no convenient solution to retain Starlink function. He said that the FCC holds Starlink in its hands, and that a 12GHz approval for Dish isn’t something that the company can just code around. 

“There is no easy fix,” said Goldman. “If the FCC were to go the wrong way, there is not like, a software fix, or another spectrum band.” The senior director for satellite policy said that Starlink’s ecosystem is absolutely dependent on the band, even breaking the usual level of SpaceX silence to make a briefing direct to journalists regarding the issue. The move aims to convince the FCC to reject a Dish proposed use of the 12GHz range. 

Dish isn’t the only one eying the juicy frequency range, though. A gaggle of allied companies have argued that there’s no good reason to disapprove their bid for the band, and that SpaceX is lying to the public in its statements regarding the situation. The companies, grouped under the banner “5G for 12GHz”, say that the approval is vital to US global leadership in the communications industry. Without the approval, they assert that the lack of open 5G-ready frequencies will hobble the American telecom industry by preventing competition and increase service options. 

On the group’s site, they say that “America has an opportunity to unlock the power of the 12 GHz band for 5G, giving us an edge among global leaders in broadband, an edge for innovation and new technology, and an edge for consumers through more competition and choices.” According to them, the additional frequency approval would ‘unlock’ 500 MHz of spectrum to double the national availability of licensed midband spectrum, allowing the USA to overtake frequency spreads from around the world. The issue could very well impact more than just the states, as similar plays all over the world are occurring every day ahead of additional tech developments. 



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