Starlink Funding Denied by FCC
February 29, 2024
On August 10, 2022, it was announced that the FCC denied SpaceX for a $886 million subsidy for Starlink.
The emerging Internet provider’s goal has been to bring low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite Internet service to rural and remote communities across the world. This bid would be part of a $9.2 billion Rural Opportunity Fund, to facilitate Wi-Fi in regions that do not have access to broadband Internet.
Starlink was tentatively awarded this grant towards the end of 2020, but still required approval from the FCC before receiving any funding.
In a press release announcing that Starlink would not get the subsidy, the FCC cited a failure to “demonstrate that the provider could deliver the promised service.” The agency was referring to declining speeds in Starlink’s service, as they were reported by Ookla in 2022. These speeds reportedly did not meet the required 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds.
The cost for customers to install the service was a main concern behind the agency’s decision as well.
“Starlink’s technology has real promise,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “But the question before us was whether to publicly subsidize its still developing technology for consumer broadband—which requires that users purchase a $600 dish—with nearly $900 million in universal service funds until 2032.”
Prior to this announcement, the burgeoning satellite Internet service provider offered service to over 400,000 users within 36 countries. Starlink also launched nearly 3,000 satellites into space. On July 29, they broke their previous record for number of launches in a year (32), and had been on track to reach 52 orbital missions by the end of 2022.
While this is a setback for Starlink and SpaceX, Starlink is still an impressive, promising service. It’s clearly the best satellite Internet service.
However, the concerns the FCC has about its consistency and equipment and installation costs are not as relevant to Fiber Internet service. Learn how Starlink’s service compares to the speed and reliability that a future proof fiber-optic network offers.