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SpaceX Challenges US FCC Decision to Block Rural Broadband Subsides Worth $885.5 Billion

SpaceX — the US satellite communications and space launch provider — has reportedly challenged a decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block subsidies for the firm that were tentatively awarded in 2020. Elon Musk’s Starlink, which already has thousands of users in the US, was expecting to receieve $885.5 billion (roughly Rs. 70,52,400 crore) in subsidies under a multibillion-dollar program that aimed to bring internet access to various regions in the US with no access to the the Internet.

On Friday, SpaceX appealed the decision of the US FCC to deny a subsidy worth $885.5 billion (roughly Rs. 70,52,400 crore) to the firm’s satellite Internet services arm, Starlink, according to a Reuters report. The regulator had rejected the subsidies in August, stating that Starlink’s technology had “real promise” but could not meet the program’s requirements due to a steady decline in speeds, and high prices.

The regulatory filing by SpaceX claims the decision to deny the subsidies under the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund which were tentatively awarded in 2020, was “flawed” and “grossly unfair”, as per the report.  

SpaceX’s Senior Director of Satellite Policy, David Goldman, reportedly slammed the regulator in the appeal, stating that the decision appeared to be “rendered in service to a clear bias towards fibre, rather than a merits-based decision to actually connect unserved Americans.”

Starlink, which has over 3,000 satellites in orbit, was aiming to provide Internet access to over 6.42 lakh locations across 35 states in the US which lacked connectivity, according to the report.  

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