SpaceX is deploying Starlink satellites to connect areas across the world where internet connection is unreliable and unavailable. According to a report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), approximately 19 million Americans still lack access to fixed broadband service at reliable speeds. In rural and tribal areas in the United States around 14.5 million people still do not have access to the internet where they live. SpaceX's Starlink satellite constellation will be capable of providing high-speed broadband internet everywhere, even the most remote areas on Earth. The Starlink constellation will initially be comprised of 4,409 satellites. To date, SpaceX has deployed 960 internet-beaming satellites that operate in Low Earth Orbit, which enables a faster, more reliable service to underserved areas compared to terrestrial networks. SpaceX is already offering Starlink Beta service in Canada and northern portions of the United States. By 2021 SpaceX aims to offer service across the U.S. as more satellites are deployed to orbit.
The FCC will distribute funding to American internet provider companies under a program called - Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The FCC states this fund is the “commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide to efficiently fund the deployment of broadband networks in rural America. Through a two-phase reverse auction mechanism, the FCC will direct up to $20.4 billion over 10 years to finance up to gigabit speed broadband networks in unserved rural areas, connecting millions of American homes and businesses to digital opportunity,” the Commission wrote in a press release.
SpaceX Starlink is one of the 386 companies that qualified to bid in the ‘Phase 1’ federal auction for $9.2 billion in funding to deploy internet in rural communities across the United States. The billions available in the auction will be distributed among internet providers that qualified over a 10-year period. Today, December 7th, CNBC news first-reported the Federal Communications Commission awarded SpaceX with $885.5 million worth of federal subsidies to provide Starlink broadband internet to rural communities across 35 U.S. states. SpaceX is one out of 180 companies to receive funding from the Phase 1 auction.
...— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) December 7, 2020
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.