Rejection of SpaceX Starlink Subsidies Could Benefit Chinese Providers: FCC Commissioner

Photo: SpaceX

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected SpaceX for a previously awarded subsidy for providing satellite internet to rural areas in the U.S., and now, the agency’s head is speaking out against the decision.

The FCC’s decision to deny SpaceX $885.5 million in rural broadband subsidies could give China a competitive edge, according to Republican FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington said on Monday, as reported by Salt Wire.

Simington said that the FCC should listen to SpaceX’s appeal to the decision to deny the funding from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which was tentatively awarded to the space company in 2020 to help improve connectivity for rural U.S. residents.

“These actions will also risk giving Chinese satellite internet providers, who have the full support of their government, a competitive advantage in serving the rest of the world,” Simington said. “This would be especially troubling because it might raise questions for low-earth orbit connectivity companies worldwide about the regulatory risks of choosing to domicile in the United States.”

Simington is the second Republican FCC commissioner to vocally oppose the decision, following Brendan Carr who criticized the agency for rejecting the funding without entirely voting on it.

Currently, the FCC is deadlocked with two Republicans and two Democrats.