FCC Denies SpaceX Rural Broadband Subsidy Application

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Aug 11, 2022

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The communications regulator turned down SpaceX’s bid on Wednesday, saying it was unconvinced the company would deliver on promises.

Tentative Approval Rescinded

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied SpaceX’s subsidy application for nearly $1 billion to boost its rural broadband project. This decision effectively cancels a tentative approval to hand over the funds made in 2020. 

SpaceX’s Starlink and another company LTD Broadband were initially awarded $855 million and $1.3 billion, respectively, as part of efforts to provide internet service options for rural dwellers. The $9.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund was the brainchild of former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

In a statement released Wednesday, the FCC said that both companies “failed to demonstrate” they could “deliver the promised service”.

“We must put scarce universal service dollars to their best possible use as we move into a digital future that demands ever more powerful and faster networks,” said current FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. “We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not likely to meet program requirements.”

Starlink’s still developing technology requires users to buy a $600 dish, which does not impress Rosenworcel. On top of that, subscribers will have to pay $110 per month for the service. 

However, the FCC Chair noted that the Elon Musk-owned Starlink technology “has real promise.”

Sources.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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