'Doesn't Make Sense:' Elon Musk Gets Livid Over FCC's Denial Of $885M Subsidy To Starlink, Accuses Rivals Of Foul Play

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday alleged that rival companies lobbied the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prevent his rocket manufacturing company from competing. Musk’s allegation came hours after the FCC reiterated its decision to deny SpaceX’s Starlink $885.5 million in rural broadband subsidies.

What Happened: The FCC on Tuesday reaffirmed that it will deny Starlink $885.5 million in rural broadband subsidies because it failed to meet basic program requirements. 

Starlink could not demonstrate that it could deliver the service it promised in 2020, the agency said. Starlink had agreed to provide high-speed internet to 642,000 rural premises by the end of 2025.

Republican FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington, however, dissented against the decision. Carr alleged that the FCC has added itself to the growing list of administrative agencies taking action against Elon Musk’s businesses following the billionaire’s acquisition of Twitter on the instruction of President Joe Biden

The commissioner termed the move “regulatory harassment” and said that the decision cannot be explained by “any objective application of law, facts or policy” as it is asking for demonstration years ahead of time.

Such a standard for demonstrating abilities ahead of time cannot be passed by any entity and the FCC is applying it solely to Starlink, he alleged.

Musk Responds: Elon Musk responded to Carr’s statement on X and said that Starlink is the only company solving rural broadband at scale.

“What actually happened is that the companies that lobbied for this massive earmark (not us) thought they would win, but instead were outperformed by Starlink, so now they're changing the rules to prevent SpaceX from competing,” Musk alleged. 

The SpaceX CEO further opined that instead of giving the subsidy to players who cannot do the deed, it must instead be dissolved and the funds returned to taxpayers instead.

However, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, "The FCC followed a careful legal, technical and policy review to determine that this applicant had failed to meet its burden to be entitled to nearly $900 million in universal service funds for almost a decade."

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