UPDATE Several advocacy groups have urged the FCC to fully vet the winners’ claims in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction to ensure the companies can really complete their broadband buildouts before awarding $9.2 billion in subsidies, Inside Towers reported last week. Friday was the deadline for companies to submit plans that show they have the necessary financial backing and technical expertise.
That vetting includes satellite companies that want to provide satellite-delivered broadband, such as SpaceX. The company is facing a final test—and some resistance from rivals—in its bid to secure almost $1 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.
SpaceX won preliminary rights to $886 million in government subsidies to provide rural broadband service via Starlink, its system of low-Earth-orbiting satellites. Most of the subsidies awarded by the FCC were designated for more established technologies, which included companies laying fiber-optic cable. Supporters of the SpaceX plan say delivering broadband via satellite has the potential to reach isolated homes and businesses at a significantly lower cost. SpaceX representatives didn’t respond to WSJ requests for comment.
An FCC representative declined to say when the agency expected to make a decision on the SpaceX plan.
SpaceX, meanwhile, was targeting today to launch another 60 Starlink satellites.