September 28, 2022

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FCC reversal $886M Starlink award has no lawful basis, commissioner says

Commissioner says FCC’s $885.5 million Starlink award has no legal basis

FCC Commissioner Brenden Carr has called on the FCC to reject the $885.5 million Starlink Infrastructure Award. FCC He said that network financing From Starlink satellites It wouldn’t be the best use of limited broadband subsidies.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworsel said the technology holds real promise, but the FCC cannot afford to “support projects that do not deliver promised speeds or are unlikely to meet program requirements.”

Commissioner Carr strongly disagreed with the move and shared his thoughts on it on Twitter. He said her decision to cancel the $885 million infrastructure grant was not only worrisome, but was made without legal justification. Rural Americans will be left “waiting for the wrong side of the digital divide.”

In his statement, Commissioner Carr said he was surprised to learn of a press release issued by the FCC that reflected the $885.5 million infrastructure prize that SpaceX won in 2020. He said the move reflected “the broader set of mistakes the agency has made at a cost.” taxpayers. while leaving rural communities behind.”

Commissioner Carr wrote,

“As a preliminary matter, this is a very strange finding because the reasons given by the agency for reversing this infrastructure decision do not stand up to even occasional scrutiny. In fact, the reversal constitutes a clear error and clearly goes beyond the agency’s authority.”

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First, the FCC announcement claims that the agency is working to “avoid significant delays in providing required service to rural areas.” However, this is precisely the result that this decision guarantees. The 2020 Starlink FCC award secured a commitment to provide high-speed Internet service to 642,925 unserved rural homes and businesses in 35 states. By reversing course, the FCC has just opted to vaporize that obligation and replace it with…nothing. This is a decision to leave families waiting on the wrong side of the digital divide when we have the technology to deliver a high-speed service to them today.”

Commissioner Carr also said that the agency’s excuse that Starlink technology is “risky” and “is still in development, and has no effect. He noted that the FCC’s speed test data shows that Starlink has speed”a plus Significantly year after year.

He also described the suspicions shown by the FCC as “strange” because “it directly contradicts the confidence expressed by other components of the federal government – including the Air Force, which has just signed a nearly $2 million deal with Starlink to deliver high-speed results.” Internet service for military bases”.

Starlink pricing has been criticized by the FCC, and Commissioner Carr has also raised the matter. The agency cites the Starlink price point in denying it this universal service award. However, currently, the FCC offers universal service awards for much slower internet services that cost consumers much more.”

The commissioner said that residents of Napacak, Alaska, pay hundreds of dollars a month for services backed by the FCC’s Universal Service Awards that provide “speeds less than 1/10 the speed of Starlink.”

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Commissioner Carr also said that the refusal had no legal basis because “the 2020 panel-level decision governing the Starlink Award and similar awards did not authorize employees to reject the winning bid based on equipment price point considerations — let alone based on an arbitrary decision being selectively applied to a winner.” One. As such, the refusal here has no legal basis.”

Commissioner Carr is also concerned that the FCC’s decision will hurt taxpayers.

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Commissioner says FCC’s $885.5 million Starlink award has no legal basis