Viasat questions FCC Starlink subsidy
June 3, 2021
California-based satellite broadband supplier Viasat has filed an objection to the FCC’s granting of $885 million to SpaceX and its Starlink satellite service.
The FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awarded the sum to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service in December 2021. The award was part of a massive $9.2 billion granted to successful applicants, and SpaceX was one of 180 bidders (mostly cable and telco/IP operators) selected. Starlink needs to connect about 640,000 homes spread across 35 US states with its satellite service under the terms of the award.
Viasat, in a document made public on June 1st, states that the FCC has abandoned its commitment to transparency and that there are “significant” doubts about Space/Starlink being able to satisfy the RDOF’s performance obligations.
Viasat, in its letter to FCC acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel, argues that the FCC has improperly discriminated against Viasat and is asking her to look again at the RDOF award.
Viasat was reportedly also intending to file an action in the US Appeal Court requesting that the court orders a ‘stay’ on further SpaceX launches on environmental grounds.