Amazon complains to FCC about SpaceX

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September 8th saw Amazon fire off another salvo to the FCC with a list of complaints about SpaceX and also citing a WSJ comment that Elon Musk wages a “war on regulators” and that Musk allegedly breaks the rules and endangers people.

The Amazon letter to the FCC (and from its subsidiary Kuiper Systems) is specific in its allegations, saying: “Whether it is launching satellites with unlicensed antennas, launching rockets without approval, building an unapproved launch tower, or re-opening a factory in violation of a shelter-in-place order, the conduct of SpaceX and other Musk-led companies makes their view plain: rules are for other people, and those who insist upon or even simply request compliance are deserving of derision and ad hominem attacks.”

The letter continues: “As well-documented in its filings throughout multiple proceedings and against a growing list of operators, SpaceX has just one name for any private company that dares point out its flouting of laws and regulations: ‘anticompetitive’. And so it is with a sigh that Amazon responds to SpaceX’s most recent attack on Amazon, which takes this familiar tack in order to distract from the actual problem—that, in SpaceX’s view, rules are for other people.”

“Amazon’s provocation in this instance was to point out that SpaceX’s recent amendment to its pending application for its second-generation constellation was improper under the FCC’s rules, because it described two separate constellations instead of one, as the Commission’s rules require. Allowing this would not only create more work for the Commission and interested parties, as Amazon pointed out, but it would also strain to the breaking point the Commission’s already overloaded pipeline for processing licence applications. To this simple problem, Amazon proposed a simple remedy: settle on a single constellation proposal (as all others do) and resubmit the amendment,” states Amazon.

“Instead, SpaceX chose a more complicated path – one that involves misinformation, ad hominem attacks, and a belief that it can influence regulators via social media. This path will take longer and inconvenience many, but is sure to lead to the same place. The approach comes from a playbook familiar to any regulator faced with the unfortunate task of even-handedly applying its rules to SpaceX: concede nothing, ignore rules wherever possible, and when all else fails, malign those that invoke them,” argues Amazon.

The Jeff Bezos-backed business alleges that SpaceX’s “hypocrisy and double standards are not limited to FCC proceedings” and lists the US Air Force, the US Dept. of Defense and – of course – Amazon itself which SpaceX has challenged.

The letter closes with an appeal, saying: “Musk and SpaceX will likely continue to respond as they have here, and the chaotic and resource draining cycle will continue. Amazon asks that the Commission show SpaceX that the rules apply to it as well. This – and only this – will free all those involved to return to the real work of closing the digital divide.”


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