The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has told SpaceX – and a few other would-be beneficiaries of its rural broadband largesse – that the cash it is prepared to award cannot be used to serve “parking lots and well-served urban areas”.
Michael Janson, the FCC’s Rural Broadband Task Force director, has written directly to SpaceX as well as to others who were successful with their applications for a portion of the FCC’s $9.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) that the cash cannot be used to serve places like airports which already have satellite-delivered broadband.
SpaceX was one of 197 businesses who were awarded FCC grants. SpaceX received $886 million from the FCC under the RDOF scheme.
There have been complaints (from the likes of the Competitive Carriers Association) that at least some of the cash was being allegedly misspent with widespread flaws and waste. One report stated that some $111 million of SpaceX’s grant was going to random patches of land which included central highway median strips and even New York City parking lots.
The FCC has been busy comparing and contrasting the selected areas by some of the recipients and comparing the sites with official census returns. SpaceX was specifically approved last year for its plan to provide service to 642,925 locations in 35 states.
However, it is alleged that SpaceX’s list of proposed installations include Newark International Airport and Miami Airport.