Beijing Introduces Satellite Internet Policies amid China’s Space Infrastructure Development Ambitions

Beijing is introducing a series of policy measures to reinforceĀ  China’s development of a satellite internet services industry. This includes regulations and financial plans. This was revealed through a notice by the Chinese capital’s Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology. Satellite-based internet services have become popular among first world countries such as the US and European nations. China has not been left behind in enabling the public and businesses to access reliable and better internet services. The broader online access has also expanded operations for the nation’s aviation and maritime sectors.

Beijing’s set of policies is the latest development program in a string of programs initiated by other cities such as Shanghai, Wuhan, and Chongqing. This is according to Lan Tianyi, Ultimate Blue Nebula CEO and space consultant. Ultimate Blue Nebula is a space consulting firm based in Beijing. The Chinese capital’s bureau added that it would reinforce both state-owned and private corporations that provide satellite internet services. This support will include helping them attract talent as well as giving them favorable taxes and housing plans. The bureau will also assist these corporations in developing satellite-based internet applications in the logistics and aviation sectors.

By 2025, Beijing plans to help establish a top-rated industrial base for satellite internet batch. This batch will be an array of communication satellites launched to the low earth orbit to provide global online access. China’s efforts at developing satellite internet constellation will be competing against Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite constellation, which is currently the leader in matters of satellite internet access. SpaceX, founded and headed by Musk, has already launched about one thousand low earth orbit satellites and has been running tests across the US.

Private satellite manufacturers and spacecraft service providers based in Beijing are the best bet for China’s ambition to compete with SpaceX to become the leader in satellite internet services. According to Tianyi, they could make up about 80% of the emerging Chinese satellite Internet sector’s overall supply chain. In 2020, China unveiled a new infrastructure plan that included the 5G Internet, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, and the satellite internet. The government has been supporting this plan through reduced taxation and giving financial assistance to such projects. Beijing’s satellite internet policies are one of the many programs scheduled to happen before 2025, in line with this development plan. Satellite internet can be accessed from anywhere globally, with a satellite dish pointed towards a geostationary satellite in space. It is more reliable than the terrestrial communications network and has improved communications, especially in the marine and aerospace sectors.