SpaceX recently sent a filing to the Federal Communications Commission stating that expanding the signal coverage of its 5G network would cause massive interference and could disrupt Starlink’s satellite Internet service. Dish refuted this claim, arguing that SpaceX is conducting a “public misinformation campaign” against 5G.
In a statement released today, the 5G for 12 GHz Coalition, which is on Dish’s side, said, “This tactic commonly used by Elon Musk is not only dishonest, but it also spreads an anti-5G narrative that is harmful to American consumers, who deserve greater competition, connectivity options and innovation.”
The dispute centers on the availability of 12 GHz spectrum for 5G, which SpaceX currently uses as the “mainstay” of its Starlink service, saying that 5G interference above 12 GHz would make Starlink “unusable” for most Americans. “. Currently, SpaceX has more than 2,400 Starlink satellites in orbit that provide broadband Internet coverage to about 400,000 subscribers, according to the company.
The FCC is currently considering whether to allow 5G in the 12 GHz band, and SpaceX hopes to convince the commission not to allow it. In late June, SpaceX sent emails to its Starlink customers asking for their support and urging them to petition lawmakers and the FCC to block the change. Last week, more than 70,000 Starlink customers reportedly commented to the FCC asking for 5G to be rejected.
SpaceX’s main argument, however, is detailed in a 16-page analysis that claims to “clearly demonstrate” that 5G service will cause disruptions. The 5G for 12 GHz Coalition now says the document is “scientifically and logically flawed,” was not done by independent experts, and focuses on “unfavorable geographic locations” while “The Verge has reached out to SpaceX for 12 GHz. The Verge has reached out to SpaceX for comment.
According to FierceWireless, FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel acknowledged the complexities of getting 5G to work in the 12 GHz band during a congressional hearing in April, and Rosenworcel said “frankly, these issues take time. She told lawmakers that it was being determined whether harmful interference would occur if multiple services coexisted in the 12 GHz spectrum.