FCC approves LEO operators to bid for rural funding
June 11, 2020
By Chris Forrester
The FCC, somewhat unusually, seems to have changed its mind and it is the world’s operators of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites which could benefit.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on June 9th that the Commission had changed the text on its draft order. “We did accommodate a request from a commissioner (Commissioner O’Rielly) to include potential low-earth orbit satellite competitors that might wish to participate in the auction,” he advised.
Chairman Pai said the agency will review applications to ensure that any proposed LEO technology “is able to do what it says it’s going to do”.
The decision is good news for the likes of SpaceX, Viasat, Telesat and perhaps others who want to be eligible for the FCC’s $20 billion – and it could be more – of special funding and subsidies for serving the USA’s rural and isolated communities with broadband services.