Elon Musk’s Latest Clash with Government Forces

(HorizonPost.com) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week affirmed its 2022 decision to deny SpaceX’s Starlink nearly $900 billion in rural broadband subsidies, Reuters reported.

The FCC said on December 12 that Elon Musk’s internet satellite service failed to meet basic program requirements and Starlink failed to demonstrate that it could deliver the services promised after it challenged the FCC’s 2022 decision.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said following a “careful legal, technical, and policy review,” the FCC determined that Starlink “failed to meet its burden.”

Among the reasons the FCC gave for reaffirming its decision was SpaceX’s failure to successfully launch the Starship rocket and whether future failed launches might “impact Starlink’s ability” to fulfill its obligations.

After Starlink agreed to provide high-speed internet for 642,000 homes and businesses in rural areas from 35 states, the FCC initially rescinded the subsidies in August last year based on speed test data.

SpaceX said in a statement that it was “disappointed and perplexed” by the decision, arguing that Starlink is “likely the best option” to meet the FCC’s goal to provide high-speed internet in rural areas.

The two Republican members of the 5-member FCC dissented from the decision, arguing that the FCC was holding Starlink to its 2025 targets three years too soon and implied that the Biden administration’s animus toward SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was behind the decision.

Republican commissioner Brendan Carr accused the FCC of joining a “growing list of administrative agencies that are taking action” against Musk’s ventures and described the decision as part of the Biden administration’s “pattern of regulatory harassment.”

In a post on his social media platform X, Musk said the FCC’s decision didn’t make sense and argued that Starlink was the only company that had solved rural internet access. Musk suggested that the FCC should “dissolve the program” and give the funding back to taxpayers rather than approve the subsidies for a company that won’t get the job done.

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