The FCC today denied SpaceX’s request for $885.5 million in Rural Digital Opportunities Fund auction held this last December. SpaceX sought this funding to aid in expanding its service to nearly 650,000 locations in 35 states where high-speed internet is scarce and Americans have few market options to choose from.
According to a press release from the FCC, “After careful legal, technical, and policy review, we are rejecting” applications from both Starlink and another company LTD Broadband failed to meet the requirements and that “scarce universal service dollars” must be put to better use and not to funding ventures “that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”
“Starlink’s technology has real promise,” continued Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “But the
question before us was whether to publicly subsidize its still developing technology for consumer broadband—which requires that users purchase a $600 dish—with nearly $900 million in universal service funds until 2032.”
The Commission also announced that is ready to authorize nearly $22 million in broadband
funding to three companies to deploy gigabit service to almost 15,000 locations in four states
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Up till now, the RDOF program has authorized over $5 billion in funding to bring “primarily fiber gigabit broadband service” to over 3,000,000 locations in 47 states. With this program, hundreds of carriers have already begun deploying these future-proof networks to connect unserved areas.
“we should be making it easier for unserved communities to get service, not rejecting a proven satellite technology that is delivering robust, high-speed service today, To be clear, this is a decision that tells families in states across the country that they should just keep waiting on the wrong side of the digital divide even though we have the technology to improve their lives now”FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr
In response to Starlink’s rejection FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said “I am surprised to find out” that “while I am on a work trip to remote parts of Alaska—that the FCC has made this significant decision. I will have more to say because we should be making it easier for unserved communities to get service, not rejecting a proven satellite technology that is delivering robust, high-speed service today,” in an apparent rejection of the decision to reject Starlink. ” To be clear, this is a decision that tells families in states across the country that they should just keep waiting on the wrong side of the digital divide even though we have the technology to improve their lives now.”
It would seem that Chairwomen Rosenworcel has some explaining to do and will likely here from here boss FCC Commissioner Carr very soon.