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FCC commissioner questions legality of FCC cancellation of SpaceX’s $900 million subsidy

On August 24th one of the four FCC commissioners, Brendan Carr, questioned the legality of FCC’s decision on August 10th to cancel the $900 million subsidy it had awarded SpaceX for providing internet capability to rural communities using Starlink.

The Federal Communications Commission denied Starlink nearly $900 million in rural broadband subsidies “without legal justification,” one of the regulator’s four commissioners said Aug. 24.

While the FCC was obligated to review subsidies provisionally awarded for SpaceX’s broadband service in December 2020, Commissioner Brendan Carr said the agency exceeded “the scope of that authority” when it rejected them nearly two years later.

…Carr said he was surprised to learn about the decision from a press release while he was on a work trip to Alaska, adding that it was made without a vote or authorization from the FCC’s Commissioners. [emphasis mine]

Carr also noted that the reasoning used by the FCC in its cancellation notice made no sense. For example, the FCC had referenced the cost SpaceX charges customers for buying the Starlink terminal, $599, in justifying the cancellation. Carr noted that “the FCC is not authorized to deny winning RDOF bids based on the price of equipment, ‘let alone based on an arbitrary one selectively applied to one winner.'”

When the cancellation was announced, I wrote that my first instinct was that it was solely political in nature, and that it stemmed from the growing animus in the federal bureaucracy and in the Biden administration to Elon Musk, combined with a lobbying effort by SpaceX’s competitors against Starlink. I think Carr’s statements this week confirm my instincts entirely. The cancellation was purely political.

Nonetheless, I think it a good thing the FCC cancelled this subsidy, which is really nothing more than welfare for big corporations. SpaceX doesn’t need it. The federal government doesn’t have the money. And the program itself is now clearly corrupt. The taxpayer would be better off if the entire subsidy program was shut down.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

7 comments

  • pzatchok

    I think this program was started by Jimmy Carter to bring phones and electric to distant farms.

    It has subsequently been expanded to include cell service by every democratic administration since.
    I think Obama even added the free Obama phone to it by including low income people.

    Every telecommunication company has dipped into this pot of gold at one point or another.
    But Musk gets denied? After getting approval. Why?

    Again the left is making the statement to not go against them in any way or suffer the effects of everything the government could bring down on you.
    Quite fascist of them.

  • Jeff Wright

    Agreed. That money could have helped with Starship. I consider it an investment.

  • George C

    The power that regulators desire the most are price controls. So you take this money and then we get to tell you how to run your business. Obviously SpaceX doesn’t want to sell the ground terminal equipment at a loss or at risk. A prudent way to lower costs and be able to accept all customers.

  • wayne

    Affordable Connectivity Program
    https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

    “Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program, a new long-term, $14 billion program, to replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program…..”

  • Concerned

    The taxpayer would be better off if the entire federal bureaucracy was shut down.

  • BLSinSC

    I keep seeing popup tents in parking lots for “FREE PHONES”! WHO is SUBSIDIZING those?? Yeah – ME!!

    The DEMOcrats are using US TAXPAYERS’ money as WEAPONS – mostly of Mass Destruction of Our Nation!

    Just ANOTHER abuse by the deep state!

  • Star Bird

    Would someone please contact Star Base Four

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