An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: SpaceX has been awarded $885.51 million by the Federal Communications Commission to provide Starlink broadband to 642,925 rural homes and businesses in 35 states. The satellite provider was one of the biggest winners in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, the results of which were released today. Funding is distributed over 10 years, so SpaceX’s haul will amount to a little over $88.5 million per year. Charter Communications, the second-largest US cable company after Comcast, did even better. Charter is set to receive $1.22 billion over 10 years to bring service to 1.06 million homes and businesses in 24 states.
FCC funding can be used in different ways depending on the type of broadband service. Cable companies like Charter and other wireline providers generally use the money to expand their networks into new areas that don’t already have broadband. But with Starlink, SpaceX could theoretically provide service to all of rural America once it has launched enough satellites, even without FCC funding. One possibility is that SpaceX could use the FCC money to lower prices in the 642,925 funded locations, but the FCC announcement didn’t say whether that’s what SpaceX will do. Starlink is in beta and costs $99 per month, plus a one-time fee of $499 for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router. The 35 states where SpaceX won FCC funding are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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