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Amazon says Elon Musk's wicked, wicked ways mean SpaceX's Starlink 2.0 should not be allowed to fly
Yes, that Amazon. The one that's been fined for breaches of privacy and labor laws and accused of price-fixing, making life hell for unions …
Amazon.com has written a very-colorfully-worded letter to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging it to take a strong stance when considering SpaceX's satellite broadband business because Elon Musk is a cheat who messes things up – for those who need better internet connections, and totally not for Amazon itself.
The letter [PDF] opens with the following broadside:
The letter has a bibliography that explains the source of each of the above assertions.
The author, Andrew Keisner, lead counsel at Amazon's satellite broadband subsidiary Kuiper, next puts himself on the record with the following opinion:
The point of the insults is to attack SpaceX's recent letter [PDF] to the FCC that accuses Amazon/Kuiper of using delaying tactics to mask its own difficulties securing FCC approval for its proposed broadband satellite constellation.
SpaceX is attempting to win approval for a new constellation of 30,000 broadband satellites that will use low Earth orbits. Amazon/Kuiper argues that SpaceX's plans are both unfair and invalid because it's asking for approval of two different configurations without committing to either.
Amazon therefore argues that SpaceX must submit one plan and one plan only, and that the FCC is bound to consider only such a unitary plan.
The e-tail and cloud colossus also argues that SpaceX's application stifles competition.
"Forcing both the Commission and interested parties to grapple with the interference concerns posed by two separate configurations doubles the technical effort of every operator faced with the task of reviewing the interference and orbital debris concerns raised by SpaceX's amendment," Amazon has argued.
Elon Musk's response to Amazon's objections appeared, inevitably, on Twitter.
Turns out Besos retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 27, 2021
Amazon's letter ends by asking the FCC to apply its rules and make SpaceX file a proper proposal.
"Amazon asks that the Commission show SpaceX that the rules apply to it as well,” it states. "This – and only this – will free all those involved to return to the real work of closing the digital divide."
Amazon is, of course, not without some regulation-bending history of its own, such as its flouting of French privacy laws and advertising-related naughtiness that the European Union believes merits a €746 million ($882M) fine. The company has also allegedly indulged in a little light price fixing and has admitted to locking up the audiobook market in concert with Apple.
We could go on, but you get the idea: Amazon is not averse to breaking rules here on Earth. And it has made very little progress in space – Kuiper hopes to start slinging sats in 2023, but SpaceX already has tens of thousands of customers for its Starlink satellite broadband service.