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New Analysis: Why Are We Letting Monopolists Corner Space?

Open Markets reporter Luke Goldstein writes in The Washington Monthly about how billionaire tycoons are seizing control over America’s public satellite systems
WASHINGTON -

Luke Goldstein, a reporter at Open Markets Institute, published an in-depth article detailing the menacing emergence of yet another Big Tech roll-up of power — this time over the satellite systems that will host the internet of the future.

Goldstein lays out how Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon have evaded regulations to gain near-total control over low Earth orbit satellite systems — and how regulators sometimes even helped them do so.

Major environmental, financial, privacy, and national security risks come with this new space-based industry. Among the current and forecasted threats that Goldstein lays out are:

  • A new, more-intrusive system of data gathering and surveillance;
  • Unfair competition (Musk has also effectively engaged in predatory pricing to expand Starlink’s customer base); and
  • A potential space debris disaster caused by experimental, poorly engineered systems

Goldstein also details some of the ways elected officials, federal agencies, and regulatory bodies can use more diligent technical oversight and public policy to minimize the political, societal, and environmental threats posed by the monopolization of this new industry by private powers.

From the article:

  • “New space technologies could immensely benefit humanity, but to realize the benefits we can’t hand over this valuable resource to the domineering control of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Instead, the government needs to establish rigorous oversight and enforce fair and efficient terms of competition so space junk and monopolization don’t ruin the final frontier forever.”

Read the full piece in The Washington Monthly here.

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The Open Markets Institute works to address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today’s unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power. By combining policy, legal, and market structure expertise with sophisticated communications and outreach efforts, Open Markets seeks not only to hold today’s monopolies accountable for abuse of power, but to rebuild an economic system where progress is easier to achieve, because power is far more widely and equitably distributed

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