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2022 in review: Starlink's big year

From the battlefield to disaster areas, SpaceX's Starlink has played an active role in keeping people connected this year. But the company also faces capacity and financial challenges, and emerging competition.

The Staff

December 28, 2022

3 Min Read
2022 in review: Starlink's big year

From war zones to disaster areas and rural communities, SpaceX's low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service has served as a lifeline for many in need of an Internet connection.

But it hasn't all been rosy. Between the company's CEO Elon Musk threatening to pull service out of Ukraine – and then changing his mind – to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarding Starlink $885.5 million through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) – and then changing its mind — the year had its twists and turns. (SpaceX has appealed the rejection of its RDOF funds.)

Beyond its political troubles, Starlink has also faced questions about its speed and capacity capabilities as it grows, and the company reportedly has financial concerns too.

Nevertheless, SpaceX is forging ahead. The company has over 3,500 satellites in orbit, with approval from the FCC to deploy 7,500 (out of its requested 30,000). The field – and skies – will only get more crowded next year and beyond, with emerging competition from the likes of OneWeb, and with Amazon's Project Kuiper set to launch "two prototype satellites" for its own broadband service in early 2023.

Catch up on some of Light Reading's Starlink coverage from 2022 below.

Figure 1:  (Source: Official Space X Photos on Flickr CC2.0)
(Source: Official Space X Photos on Flickr CC2.0)

1/18/22 - Starlink's daunting deployment plan 'leaves no margin for error' – analyst
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

2/2/22 - Starlink trots out faster 'Premium' tier fetching $500 per month
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

2/10/22 - Starlink to lose about 40 satellites in wake of geomagnetic storm
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

2/28/22 - Starlink services go live in Ukraine but could bring additional risk
(Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading, and host of The Divide)

3/23/22 - Starlink surpasses 250K residential and business subscribers
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

4/4/22 - Starlink helps Vodafone Ukraine reconnect battle-scarred towns
(Ken Wieland, Contributing Editor)

4/6/22 - French court says non to Starlink
(Anne Morris, Contributing Editor)

5/27/22 - All systems go for Starlink in Philippines
(Ken Wieland, Contributing Editor)

5/30/22 - China's PLA wants to be able to take out Starlink
(Robert Clark, Contributing Editor)

6/2/22 - Starlink surpasses 400K subscribers worldwide
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

6/28/22 - Amazon works the refs on Starlink's 'Gen2' satellite constellation
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

7/5/22 - FCC clears SpaceX to connect Starlink to boats, planes, other moving vehicles
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

8/2/22 - SpaceX rebuts Viasat's 'misguided campaign' against Starlink's RDOF wins
(Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading, and host of The Divide)

8/11/22 - FCC commissioner 'surprised' to learn of Starlink RDOF rejection
(Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading, and host of The Divide)

8/30/22 - Starlink hit with global outage
(Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor)

10/10/22 - SpaceX to FCC: Starlink 'not required to show' it meets RDOF speed needs yet
(Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading, and host of The Divide)

The Staff, Light Reading

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The Staff

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