SpaceX to receive over $880 million in FCC funding for Starlink network

SpaceX receive $880 million in FCC funding to provide broadband internet to 660,000 unserved locations.
SpaceX will receive $880 million in FCC funding to supply broadband internet to unserved areas of the United States. Image credit: SpaceX

The Federal Communications Commission has awarded SpaceX $885 million in funding to provide high-speed broadband internet to over 660,000 locations in 35 states.

The funding was awarded as part of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Funding (RDOF) phase 1 auction. The RDOF program was created to bring broadband capability to approximately 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses throughout the United States.

A total of 180 bidders were awarded RDOF funding with SpaceX receiving one of the largest slices of the $9.2 billion pie. According to the FCC, 99.7% of locations identified in the RDOF phase 1 will receive broadband speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps with 85% set to receive gigabit speeds.

The $9.2 billion in funding will be paid over a period of 10 years. Providers will be required to reach all assigned locations by the end of year six.

SpaceX launched the first 60 operational Starlink satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in November 2019. Since then, the company has launched close to 900 satellites and has just recently begun offering a public beta of the service.

According to an email shared by CNBC on October 27, the Starlink broadband service will initially cost $99 per month. Additionally, users will be required to pay a $499 upfront fee for a Starlink ground terminal and wifi router.

RDOF phase 2

A total of $16 billion had originally been allocated for phase 1 of the auction. However, the FCC’s decision to utilise an auction-based bidding process resulted in $6.8 billion in savings.

According to the FCC, the savings from phase 1 will be rolled over to phase 2, which seeks to provide high-speed broadband to partially served areas and unserved areas not addressed in phase 1. The second phase of the auction will, as a result, now be worth up to $11.2 billion.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.