Satellite internet buildup needed in 14th Five-Year Plan: Lei Jun

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/21 20:23:40

Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun speaks at Xiaomi's AIoT Developer Conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: VCG

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun has said in a proposal for the two sessions that satellite internet should be listed in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), and commercial aerospace companies are encouraged to build up aerospace infrastructure. 

According to Lei, the satellite internet sector has high thresholds in both investment and technology, and it is in need of national guidance and planning to encourage private enterprises, many still in their early stages, to focus on research and development. 

Lei also proposed that the threshold for applying for frequency resources should be lowered, and a fast application track should be created for small and experimental satellites. 

Lei also proposed that more commercial companies should be allowed into the market to engage in businesses such as setting up telecommunications infrastructure for the satellite internet, and raising China's place in international competition. 

Several international companies have been trying to create the satellite internet in recent years, most notably US-based SpaceX. 

SpaceX is already planning the world's largest low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband constellation called Starlink. As of November 2019, it had deployed 122 satellites for Starlink, and it is seeking spectrum resources for 30,000 additional satellites.  

According to Xing Qiang, an expert at the Small Rocket Studio, deploying traditional base stations for the internet has become increasingly expensive, so the satellite internet can become very important in the near future. 

"As people require higher internet speeds, more base stations need to be deployed for fuller coverage," Xing said. LEOs with high spectrum can easily provide full coverage, especially for the low-latency 5G network.

Xing also noted that satellites can easily provide network services to remote areas that are difficult to cover with base stations, such as mountains and deserts. 

"If the satellite internet can be heavily supported by the government, more people can get access to high-speed uninterrupted internet services, and this can be potentially very significant for education promotion and poverty alleviation in rural areas," Xing said.  


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