FCC Rejects Subsidies for Musk’s Starlink, LTD Broadband

August 11, 2022 by Madeline Hughes
FCC Rejects Subsidies for Musk’s Starlink, LTD Broadband
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, participates in a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission officially denied applications from SpaceX to deploy Starlink satellites to help bridge the broadband gap and from another company, LTD Broadband, that would expand its wireless internet.

“After careful legal, technical and policy review, we are rejecting these applications. Consumers deserve reliable and affordable high-speed broadband,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement Wednesday. “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. We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”

The companies won bids for these government subsidies from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in 2020.

LTD Broadband won $1.3 billion for its fixed wireless network, and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which owns Starlink, won $885 million to launch its satellites.


LTD Broadband didn’t properly register as a telecommunications carrier in seven of the 15 states it was awarded funds to expand broadband in. Because it wasn’t properly registered, the commission determined the company wasn’t capable of expanding its network as it promised in the original application, according to the commission.

Musk’s Starlink was ultimately too expensive for commissioners to agree to.

“Starlink’s technology has real promise,” Rosenworcel said. “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.”


SpaceX’s Starlink has been used to help connect people to the internet in a variety of situations when there have been barriers ranging from rural geography to war. 

In Arizona, Coconino County officials worked with the company to bring internet to Navajo Nation students. And this year as Russia invaded Ukraine, Musk promised Ukrainian officials access to Starlink’s network.

These denials come on the heels of the commission issuing fines at the end of July to companies that have not moved ahead with their subsidized broadband expansion plans. The commissioners have each promised in public meetings that they want to ensure the funds get used properly, implementing safeguards into the various programs seeking to expand broadband access.

Despite these applications not moving forward, the commission is awarding $21 million from the program to three companies that will bring gigabit fiber internet service to nearly 15,000 homes and businesses in Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Overall, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund has been used to give $5 billion in subsidies to expand broadband since the program’s inception in 2019 that will award over $20 billion to expand rural broadband. So far more than 3 million homes and businesses have been connected to the internet in 47 states through the program, mostly by fiber optic cable.


The Well News has reached out to SpaceX and LTD Broadband for comment and will update if the companies respond.

Madeline can be reached at [email protected] and @MadelineHughes

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Business

September 26, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Boeing to Pay $200M After Fraud Accusations

WASHINGTON — Boeing Co. agreed last week to pay $200 million in fines to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations... Read More

WASHINGTON — Boeing Co. agreed last week to pay $200 million in fines to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that it deceived investors about the safety of the 737 Max airliner after two deadly crashes. Company executives told investors the airplane complied with Federal Aviation... Read More

US Sen. Warnock: Electric Car Tax Credit Needs 'Flexibility'

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D, Ga., urged the U.S. Treasury secretary Friday to use “maximum flexibility”... Read More

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D, Ga., urged the U.S. Treasury secretary Friday to use “maximum flexibility” in implementing a revised tax credit for Americans buying electric vehicles, a perk that Hyundai stands to lose as the automaker invests billions of dollars to... Read More

'Art of the Steal': Trump Accused of Vast Fraud in NY Suit

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump padded his net worth by billions of dollars and habitually misled banks... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump padded his net worth by billions of dollars and habitually misled banks and others about the value of prized assets like golf courses, hotels and his Mar-a-Lago estate, New York’s attorney general said Wednesday in a lawsuit that... Read More

September 19, 2022
by TWN Staff
Family Dollar Initiates Voluntary Recall of Colgate Products

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Family Dollar is initiating a voluntary product recall of Colgate mouthwash and toothpaste that were shipped and... Read More

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Family Dollar is initiating a voluntary product recall of Colgate mouthwash and toothpaste that were shipped and stored in multiple states outside of the products’ labeled temperature requirements. All of the products are subject to Food and Drug Administration regulation and were shipped... Read More

September 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Biden Calls Tentative Railway Deal ‘A Big Win for America’

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden made a last-minute addition to his public schedule on Thursday, inviting railroad and union leaders... Read More

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden made a last-minute addition to his public schedule on Thursday, inviting railroad and union leaders to the White House to celebrate their averting a nationwide strike that could have crippled the U.S. economy. Many of those invited to the Oval Office... Read More

Biden: Tentative Railway Labor Deal Reached, Averting Strike

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that a tentative railway labor agreement has been reached, averting a strike that could... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that a tentative railway labor agreement has been reached, averting a strike that could have been devastating to the economy before the pivotal midterm elections. Railroads and union representatives had been in negotiations for 20 hours at the Labor Department on... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top