SpaceX Getting $885.5 Million from FCC for Starlink Rural High Speed Internet

The US Federal Communications Commission awarded SpaceX $885.5 million worth of federal subsidies to provide Starlink broadband internet to rural communities across 35 U.S. states. SpaceX is one out of 180 companies to receive funding from the Phase 1 auction.

SpaceX won about 9% of the $9.2 billion in funds given to 180 companies in the FCC’s “Phase I auction”. The subsidies are an incentive for broadband providers to bring service to the “unserved” and hard-to-reach areas of the United States.

The subsidies will given in equal monthly payments over the next 10 years if all deployment milestones are met. Winning providers must meet periodic buildout requirements that will require them to reach all assigned locations by the end of the sixth year, and are incentivized to build out to all locations as fast as possible.

The Phase II auction will have a $11.2 budget that will target partially-served areas.

LTD Broadband, Charter Communications and Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium won more in total contract values, with $1.3 billion, $1.2 billion, and $1.1 billion awarded, respectively.

The bidders won funding to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses, almost 99% of the locations available in the auction. Moreover, 99.7% of these locations will be receiving broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with an overwhelming majority (over 85%) getting gigabit-speed broadband.

Phase II will cover locations in census blocks that are partially served, as well as locations not funded in Phase I.

Written by Brian Wang,

13 thoughts on “SpaceX Getting $885.5 Million from FCC for Starlink Rural High Speed Internet”

  1. The Tea Party faction of the Republicans pushed for fiscal belt tightening and did not win enough elections with that platform. So now neither party supports responsible budgets. Not enough public support for cutting healthcare, social security or the military. Only Rand Paul and tiny handful are pushing for fiscal responsibility. We will find out when the current situation finally fails with some future financial crisis and large numbers of people will have broken financial promises. Retirees get screwed out of pensions. Military goes into decay. Things will fail slowly and then all of a sudden.

  2. A number of years ago Congress paid cable companies to get fiberoptics to Americans. It was many billions. I don't remember how much but they did not require them to acctually do it and they did not deliver. 
    Here we go. But not exactly "paid them"…taxed you:

    With SpaceX it seems to me the government is getting a deal.

    Everyone in the US should have high speed Internet and at no or low cost. Enough of the gouging.

    Most of what government does is empower companies to rip us off.

    As an aside, rural America gets more than their fair share of Federal dollars because they have more Senators per capita, so the pork is always flowing. And I really am not against some of that. But this has become excessive as we went from 10-1 in most populous State vs least at our founding to over 70-1 today. I am not a fan of subsidies for crops, and tariffs to protect farmers. For healthy functioning markets we need to be free of that stuff. The rest I don't have an issue with. I just want to see more stuff for average people in cities and the burbs as well. More highways/lanes, sidewalks, rec. centers, wires put underground, lead remediation (pipes & windows). Shouldn't be stop and go traffic unless there is a major pile up.

  3. Are you saying that if the government purchases something from a company they should take into account the personal net worth of the company owners before deciding if they should pay for it or not?

    Government buys Ford cars? Ford family are still super rich so we won't pay, just give them the money as a loan at best. Government buys GM cars? Majority ownership is the union workers so they get paid.

    Way to turn every government transaction into a drawn out court battle if nothing else.

  4. Agreed. This is a 10 year payment. A thousand of these is 80-odd billion a year. This is a mackerel vs. a whale of other programs.

  5. These are from a "tax and spend" fund universal access fee. So it is traditional Democratic party tax and spend as opposed to borrow and spend.

    EDIT: And it benefits me personally even though I live in a large city downtown. When I go anywhere out of the way there will be high qualify internet. Win/win.

  6. If you believe it is programs like this that are the main drivers of our national debt, you really have some studying to do.

  7. it's a lose-lose scenario for the tax payer. Starlink will likely become a massive success, making billions in profit every year. If I start a restaurant, which feeds hungry people (good cause), is the government going to give me money to do so? Of course not.
    Also, you can have internet in every inch of the US, urban areas are fast, rural are decent, and remote places are slower, but the service already exists.
    I state again, these should be loans. We need to tighten our fiscal belt, we've had 20 years of unabashed wasteful spending.

  8. Seems to me as one of the less bad uses of public funds for growing the economy and helping the people of the regions impacted.

    It's a win-win scenario. Musk gets funds for Starlink, and the people gets Internet at places the regular wired networks won't go.

  9. When people wonder how our National Debt is over 27 TRILLION dollars, it's because of thousands of programs just like this.
    Could someone please inform me why the 2nd richest man on Earth needs nearly 900 millions dollars, to help build his satellite internet constellation?
    Starlink is great, and will be a money printing machine in just a couple years time, it doesn't need any federal dollars to do it. These should be low interest loans, not grants.
    I recently visited my cousin, who lives 15 miles outside of Aberdeen, SD. The internet at his place wasn't terrible, but it wasn't that great either. I said to him, well, by next year you might have a much faster starlink internet, he said he doesn't need it, cause crews were currently pulling fiber through the ditches.
    At first was was surprised that a cable company would run fiber out in the sticks, where there's a house about every half mile to a mile between each other. But it all makes sense now, that's our tax dollars being squandered by our government.

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