Starlink Reportedly Loses Out On $886 Million in Rural Broadband Subsidies

Starlink reportedly loses out on $886 million in rural broadband subsidies. The final denial from the FCC states that Starlink has not yet proven that it can “deliver the promised service” of rural broadband.

Starlink Loses Out On Rural Broadband Subsidies

Starlink Loses Out On Rural Broadband Subsidies

The FCC earlier today announced that it will not award Elon Musk’s Starlink an $886 million subsidy from the Universal Service Fund for reportedly expanding broadband service in rural areas. The money in question would have come from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program (RDOF), but the FCC on its end writes that Starlink was not able to “demonstrate that it could deliver the promised service” and that giving the subsidy to the firm would not be “the best use of limited Universal Service Fund dollars.”

That issue was also the same reason the FCC gave when it rejected the bid of Starlink in the previous year, which at the time led to this appeal. SpaceX prior to this had won the bidding to roll out 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload “low-latency internet to 642,925 locations in 35 states,” which is funded by the RDOF.

What the FCC Has To Say About This Development

“The FCC is tasked with ensuring consumers everywhere have access to high-speed broadband that is reliable and affordable,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel stated. “This applicant had failed to meet its burden to be entitled to nearly $900 million in universal service funds for almost a decade.” FCC commissioner Brendan Carr dissented, writing that “the FCC did not require — and has never required — any other award winner to show that it met its service obligation years ahead of time.”

President Bidens’ Promise of More Equitable Internet Access

President Biden on his own end has promised more equitable internet access since taking over office. But his funding plan in question was reportedly slashed by the time it became law, with the final version in question offering no money for locally-run internet service.

SpaceX’s Reaction to FCC’s Ruling

Christopher Cardaci, the head of legal at SpaceX, in a letter to the FCC, writes that “Starlink is arguably the only viable option to immediately connect many of the Americans who live and work in the rural and remote areas of the country where high-speed, low-latency internet has been unreliable, unaffordable, or completely unavailable, the very people RDOF was supposed to connect.”



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