SpaceX snags $885M from FCC to serve rural areas with Starlink

Tech Crunch
December 8, 2020

The FCC  has just pub­lished the results of its Rur­al Dig­i­tal Oppor­tu­ni­ty Fund Phase I auc­tion, which sounds rather stiff but involves dis­trib­ut­ing bil­lions to broad­band providers that bring sol­id inter­net con­nec­tions to under-served rur­al areas “on the wrong side of the dig­i­tal divide.” Includ­ed is $885 mil­lion ear­marked for SpaceX, whose Star­link satel­lite ser­vice could be a game-chang­er for places where lay­ing fiber isn’t an option.

Only three oth­er com­pa­nies gar­nered more funds: Char­ter with $1.22 bil­lion; Min­neso­ta and Iowa provider LTD Broad­band with $1.32 bil­lion; and util­i­ty col­lec­tive Rur­al Elec­tric Coop­er­ate Con­sor­tium, with $1.1 bil­lion. Those are all tra­di­tion­al wire­line-based broad­band, and a quick perusal of the list of grantees sug­gests no oth­er satel­lite broad­band provider made the cut (180 bid­ders were award­ed sup­port in total).

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