On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected SpaceX’s request for more than $1 billion in financial support for its Starlink satellite Internet network, which serves rural broadband users.
Elon Musk-owned SpaceX received $885.5 million at the FCC’s $9.2 billion auction in December 2020 as part of the agency’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. According to the FCC, the company requested financing to provide satellite Internet service to approximately 650,000 locations in 35 states.
The FCC claimed in a press release that Starlink and Limited Broadband, a separate business that initially received $1.3 billion in subsidies under the plan, “failed to establish that the providers could provide the promised service.” ,
Rosenworcel said Starlink is still “evolving,” but SpaceX’s technology holds “great promise.” “As we transition to a digital future that requires more powerful and faster networks, we must use limited funding for universal service as effectively as possible. In a statement, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said, “We cannot support projects that are not delivering the promised momentum or are unlikely to meet program requirements.
Notably, the initial phase of the $20.4 billion RDOF program was the FCC auction in December 2020. Of the 180 bidding businesses, Musk’s company came fourth in the first auction in terms of prize value.
Shortly after receiving a separate but equally important approval from the FCC to offer mobile Starlink Internet service for boats, planes and trucks, SpaceX was refused inclusion in the RDOF program.