A major blow to Elon Musk as Starlink broadband is DENIED by authorities and users may have difficulty accessing it

SPACEX has been denied its nearly billion dollar subsidy for Starlink broadband services.

The offer, received from the Federal Communications Commission in December 2020, would have allowed the company to be a service provider for 35 underserved internet states.

Elon Musk's SpaceX company Starlink was denied its previously awarded nearly $1 billion subsidy by the FCC for failing to perform its duties

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX company Starlink was denied its previously awarded nearly $1 billion subsidy by the FCC for failing to perform its dutiesPhoto credit: Reuters

First, SpaceX received $885.5 million from the FCC.

Their Rural Digital Opportunities Fund held a $9.2 billion auction.

SpaceX was looking for funding to bring satellite internet service to a whopping 650,000 locations through its broadband provider Starlink, NBC says.

FCC subsidies exist to motivate ISPs to branch out into areas where there is insufficient Internet service.

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In a press release, the FCC names both Starlink and LTD Broadband.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel says in the press release: “After careful legal, technical and political consideration, we reject these motions.

“Consumers deserve reliable and affordable high-speed broadband.”

“On the way to a digital future that requires ever more powerful and faster networks, we have to make optimal use of the scarce dollars for universal service.

“We cannot afford to subsidize companies that are not delivering the speeds promised or are unlikely to meet program requirements.”

While the Chair acknowledges that Starlink is “really promising,” she notes that the decision not to award the funds was at odds with what it could cost users.

Starlink would require “users to buy a $600 dish.”

The press release states that LTD was a fairly small bidder prior to the auction, but was the winner of the largest subsidy bid at the auction itself.

In essence, LTD’s cancellation of the promised funds boils down to them “failing to obtain eligible telecom carrier status in seven states in a timely manner, rendering them ineligible for assistance in those states.”

While many different qualities come into play, Small Biz Trends notes that Rhode Island is the state with the best internet coverage.

This is due to both the consistently wide uptime, which according to the website is an impressive 98.7%, with a download speed averaging 433.3 megabytes per second, and the cost per megabit of just $0.63.

In contrast, Montana shows broadband availability for just 61.8% of residents, a slow 110.5 megabytes per second, and a sky-high average cost of $7.28 per megabit, says Small Biz.

The FCC reported that about six percent of the population (19 million Americans) still does not have adequate internet coverage and speeds.

Separately, “the commission announced it is prepared to approve $21,112,263 in broadband financing for three companies to provide gigabit service to nearly 15,000 locations in four states of Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming,” it says in the press release.

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“To date, the RDOF program has approved more than $5 billion in funding to deliver primarily fiber-optic gigabit broadband service to over 3,000,000 locations in 47 states.

“With the support of this program, hundreds of carriers have already begun deploying these future-proof networks to connect underserved areas.”

Had the grant been successful, Starlink could have provided Internet service to 650,000 locations in 35 states as long as users purchased a $600 satellite dish

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Had the grant been successful, Starlink could have provided Internet service to 650,000 locations in 35 states as long as users purchased a $600 satellite dishPhoto credit: Getty

https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5981488/spacex-denied-billion-dollar-subsidy-for-starlink-broadband/ A major blow to Elon Musk as Starlink broadband is DENIED by authorities and users may have difficulty accessing it

Chris Barrese

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