SpaceX on Friday challenged the U.S. the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to deny $885.5 million in rural broadband subsidies to the space company’s satellite internet subsidiary, labeling the action in a regulatory filing as “flawed” and “grossly unjust.”
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a multibillion dollar programme in which SpaceX was set to receive $885.5 million to beam satellite internet to U.S. regions with little to no internet connections, was the subject of applications from billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX and LTD Broadband that the FCC rejected last month.
“The decision appears to have been rendered in service of an obvious bias towards fibre, rather than a merits-based choice to actually connect unserved Americans,” SpaceX’s senior director of satellite policy, David Goldman, said in a stinging appeal filed Friday evening.
The FCC chose not to respond.
Tens of thousands of Americans have already subscribed to SpaceX’s Starlink, a rapidly expanding network of more than 3,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit. Users must pay at least $599 for a user terminal and $110 per month for service.
Starlink’s technology “has real promise,” but the program’s requirements could not be met, according to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who announced the rejection in August. She cited data showing a steady decline in speeds over the previous year and criticised the service’s price as being too high for consumers.
The agreement called for SpaceX to offer 100/20 Mbps coverage to 642,925 locations across 35 states. In its appeal, the business claimed that the FCC had incorrectly assessed Starlink’s performance.
Brendan Carr, an FCC commissioner, criticised the organisation for rejecting the funding without a unanimous vote in a statement he released last month.
To be precise, Carr stated that this decision “tells people in states all across the country that they should just remain waiting on the wrong side of the digital divide even though we have the ability to enhance their lives today.”