Apple Hires Two Satellite Experts From Google

Today’s report from Bloomberg on Apple’s latest high-profile hirings includes a passage that sheds light on Boeing’s alleged talks with Apple regarding a broadband satellite service. According to Boeing’s regulatory filing, the aerospace giant is planning to blanket the Earth with more than a thousand satellites providing fast Internet coverage throughout the United States and internationally. According to authors Mark Gurman and Mark Bergen, Boeing has talked with Apple about investing in or partnering on the project.

Internet from the sky?

What Boeing is basically proposing here is a NGSO (non-geostationary satellite orbit constellations) low-earth orbit satellite system with the aim of providing better-than-cellular broadband coverage throughout the United States and internationally.
To that extent, Boeing asked the FCC to consider the allocation and authorization of additional uplink spectrum in the bands 50.4-51.4 GHz and 51.4-52.4 GHz so that it could create a full five gigahertz of paired spectrum for V-band operations.
Here’s an excerpt from the filing (emphasis mine):
This new uplink spectrum will help create a five gigahertz block of uplink spectrum that, paired with fixed satellite service downlink spectrum in the 37.5-42.5 GHz band, will enable very high data-rate V-band satellite broadband services that will be deployed in the near future.
There are currently four gigahertz of allocated satellite uplink spectrum in USA:
  • 47.2-50.2 GHz: Not yet designated for fixed satellite service use.
  • 50.4-51.4 GHz: Shared between NASA/military and commercial entities, with co-primary allocations for fixed, fixed satellite, mobile and MSS services.
  • 51.4-52.4 GHz: Currently allocated for terrestrial fixed and mobile wireless services.
The 50.4-51.4 GHz and 51.4-52.4 GHz bands are well-suited for satellite use because they are not being used by terrestrial wireless, at least not in the United States.

But we do know: Apple is starting a whole new hardware team for which it hired two Google executives who specialize in satellites for collecting images and those for communications.


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