In a press release issued on 2022-08-10, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced the acceptance of 80 winning bids by broadband Internet service providers for participation in its “Rural Digital Opportunity Fund” subsidy scheme: “Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support for 80 Winning Bids Ready to Be Authorized; Bid Defaults Announced” [PDF]. Accompanying this release was a second document regarding the “bid defaults” cited in the first, “FCC Rejects Applications of LTD Broadband and Starlink for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Subsidies” [PDF].
The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it is rejecting the long-form applications of LTD Broadband and Starlink to receive support through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program. The Commission determined that these applications failed to demonstrate that the providers could deliver the promised service. Funding these vast proposed networks would not be the best use of limited Universal Service Fund dollars to bring broadband to unserved areas across the United States, the Commission concluded.
After careful legal, technical, and policy review, we are rejecting these applications. Consumers deserve reliable and affordable high-speed broadband,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “We must put scarce universal service dollars to their best possible use as we move into a digital future that demands ever more powerful and faster networks. We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”
“Starlink’s technology has real promise,” continued Chairwoman 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 $900 million in universal service funds until 2032.”
Starlink had won the bid for subsidies of US$ 885,509,638.40 in the auction of 2020-12-07, and with this decision has lost that contract.