The Federal communications commission is challenging a bid by Elon Musk’s SpaceXfor $886 million in rural broadband subsidies, saying some of the money appeared headed for serving parking lots and airports with satellite-delivered broadband.
The company was among 197 winning bidders from an auction last year to be sent letters Monday by the FCC in an effort the agency said was an attempt to “clean up” the auction’s results.null
The letters offer providers an opportunity to withdraw their funding requests from those places already with service or where significant questions of waste have been raised, the FCC said.https://d5652eaf1e676e5cd36c9b4bf5a86c99.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., as it’s formally known, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The auction, known as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, is a centerpiece of FCC efforts to help extend broadband to areas with little or no service. The agency on Dec. 7 announced winning bidders to share $9.2 billion in subsidies over 10 years. The FCC considered 417 winning applicants.
SpaceX, among the top winners, had applied for $886 million in subsidies for service from its satellite fleet that’s already aloft. On Monday the FCC sent the company a 131-page list of census blocks. In those places questions had been raised about whether the proposed spending was duplicative or wasteful, the agency said in a letter.
“This program can do great things, but it requires thoughtful oversight,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “That’s why we are refocusing the program on unserved areas and putting winning bidders on notice of their obligation to ensure that support goes to the areas that need it.”
The FCC in a press release about the letters cited “complaints that the program was poised to fund broadband to parking lots and well-served urban areas.”
The letters offer providers an opportunity to withdraw their funding requests from those places already with service or where significant questions of waste have been raised, the FCC said.