In a regulatory filing on Friday, SpaceX criticized the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to reject $885.5 million in rural broadband subsidies to the space company’s satellite internet arm, calling the action “flawed” and “grossly unjust.”
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a multibillion dollar program 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.
According to SpaceX’s senior director of satellite policy, David Goldman, the decision “appears to have been delivered in service of an obvious bias towards fiber, rather than a merits-based choice to actually connect unserved Americans.”
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 a 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 consistent decline in speeds over the previous year and criticized the service’s price as being too high.
The agreement called for SpaceX to offer 100/20 Mbps coverage to 642,925 sites across 35 states. In its appeal, the business claimed that the FCC had incorrectly assessed Starlink’s performance.
Brendan Carr, an FCC commissioner, criticized the organization 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 over the country that they should simply remain waiting on the wrong side of the digital divide even though we have the ability to enhance their lives today.”