On February 7, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). This fund would allow broadband companies to win bids, ultimately funding the United States’ expansion of coverage. Today, SpaceX won some of those bids to expand its Starlink coverage.
In total, SpaceX will be awarded $885 million for the bids that it won. That money will fund Starlink for the next ten years across 35 different states, helping expand the service’s overall coverage.
The amount of money that SpaceX was awarded from the RDOF is an amazing feat. The only other satellite-based bidder in the auction was Hughes Net, which was only awarded a measly $1.3 million in comparison.
Starlink as a service continues to break down the boundaries created by other satellite internet providers. Other providers deliver mediocre speeds via big geostationary satellites; this becomes glaringly apparent when compared to Starlink speeds. Plus, Starlink user terminals can be mobile, meaning that a user could technically set one up in the middle of a forest and still get decent service.
This extra money and support are only going to strengthen Starlink’s lead in the satellite-based internet sphere. Similar companies like Hughes Net continue to fall behind in their underlying technology, speeds, and reliability. It’s only a matter of time before these other companies need to change and adapt or risk going out of business.