5G interferes with Starlink

SpaceX recently announced worries about 5G networks using Ku-bands (12 GHz) in the United States would interfere with its Starlink broadband services. However, Dish and RS Access have conducted studies that indicate that their 5G networks would impact less than 1% of terminals connecting satellites to non-geostationary orbits; Jeff Blum, vice president of dish, has even claimed that SpaceX makes frequent “exaggerated claims.” SpaceX responded that the study they conducted insufficiently captures the extent of interference 5G would cause, predicting 40x less than actual interference that would occur.

This example highlights the need to develop uniform policies of technology used in space. Given that the space sector is rapidly turning to commercial technologies, it’s natural that companies will inevitably face stiff competition. Even among American companies like SpaceX, Dish, and RS Access, they clash regarding which spectrums can be occupied. If this conflict were to be between two companies of opposing nation-states, companies could sabotage one another without much consequence.

Significant security complications can also occur without structured rules in place. Policies that dictate restrictions, such as the usage of radiofrequencies and orbital height, could prevent unintentional, unforeseen clashes and deter intentional, malicious attacks. This SpaceX/Dish conflict could have been avoided as well had the right limitations of usage of Ku-bands were developed.