SpaceX was given $885.51 million by the US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to help provide Starlink internet to almost 650,000 homes and businesses across 35 states.
The Elon-Musk-powered satellite internet provider was one of the largest recipients of the FCC’s RDOF (Rural Digital Opportunity Fund). The money is going to get dispursed over a 10-year period. So, SpaceX will receive just over $88.5 million per year for a decade.
The FCC money can be used in a variety of ways. The funds can be used to upgrade infrastructure, and provide promotions to attract business, for example. Cable companies like Charter typically use this kind of money to expand their networks into new regions. Starlink, though, being a global service where coverage is not an issue, is obviously going to do different things with their share of the funds.
More than likely what will happen is that Elon will use this money to (probably heavily) subsidize the cost of Starlink internet service. For Starlink, there is a couple-hundred dollar startup cost that, if waived, would definitely attract more people to the service.
The FCC announcement didn’t exactly say what SpaceX will do with the money, so this is really all just speculation at this point.
In total there are 35 states where SpaceX is getting the FCC funding. Here’s the list:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia