The agency promotes telephone rules in outlying areas.
The potential $30 billion market for direct-to-satellite phone calls has drawn Elon Musk’s SpaceX as well as rivals AT&T Inc. and AST Space Mobile Inc., and U.S. authorities have partially approved guidelines for the service.
To provide access to rural areas, the FCC has provisionally authorized regulations for services that extend mobile phone reception to places without cell coverage.
Telephony from space is getting closer to reality.
“The long-held dream of direct telephone connection from space is becoming a reality.” According to Jonathan Hoefler, vice president of commercial sales for SpaceX’s Starlink division, the company aims to test in-orbit communications this year in collaboration with T-Mobile US Inc.
Proponents of direct satellite communications hope to provide service in areas where there is no nearby cellular signal, such as isolated highlands or far out at sea, and to provide coverage when the world’s estimated 5 billion mobile phones lose signal.