SpaceX announces the needassigning it the status of an eligible telecom operator (ETC). SpaceX's latest filing with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) lays out Starlink's plans to provide phone services, emergency voice call backups and affordable pricing plans for low-income people under the government's Lifeline program.
Assigning ETC status will allow the company to receivegovernment funding in selected states to roll out broadband in hard-to-reach areas, and to provide discounts on communications services for low-income customers.
SpaceX plans to useexisting communication lines and public telephone lines. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to provide virtual telephony (VoIP) services that include voice access to the public switched telephone network, a free package to connect with local subscribers, emergency calls and discounts for low-income customers.
Telephone communication via Starlink, upon applicationSpaceX will sell at prices comparable to standard local rates. At the same time, consumers will be able to use "a regular third-party phone connected to an analog terminal adapter."
Today, SpaceX already has about 10thousands of customers working through the Starlink system, which is still in beta testing. That being said, customers pay $ 499 for a user terminal, router, and installation services, as well as a $ 99 monthly subscription fee. Assigning the status of a telecom operator and joining the Lifeline program will save customers about 10% ($ 9.25) of the subscription fee, which will significantly expand the client base. SpaceX currently has FCC approval to install 1 million terminals in the United States, and the company has applied to increase their number to 5 million.