Science

FCC Denies SpaceX $900 Million Starlink Funding

SpaceX has a claim to satellite funding.

In a rare press release, SpaceX said it was appealing the decision to fund its Starlink constellation of broadband satellites, which aims to provide internet service to rural areas around the world.

The space launch services giant was recently denied almost $900 million in rural communications funding from the Wire Network Competition Bureau (an affiliate of the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC). SpaceX characterized this solution (will open in a new tab) as “grossly unfair” in its Sept. 9 appeal to the regulator, which is pending.

Related: SpaceX Starlink satellites will transmit services directly to smartphones

At the same time, SpaceX competitor Lynk received FCC approval. (will open in a new tab) September 16, for its satellite phone connection network, now only a mobile phone service partner is missing to provide the service. The news comes after SpaceX, which is looking for the same market, already announced an upcoming partnership with T-Mobile in August, though the FCC has yet to approve the service.

SpaceX, funded by billionaire Elon Musk, aims to serve rural areas via a network of satellites, while Lynk plans periodic access to space via an orbiting cell tower. (will open in a new tab). According to Via Satellite, Lynk already demonstrated satellite service on the phone last year. (will open in a new tab) Although the service will only be mobile, Link says it will be useful in emergencies in rural areas.

While in theory Lynk has permission to use the service, the next steps to launch it will include a frequency check with its possible mobile phone service partner to make sure its operation doesn’t interfere with other satellites in orbit, according to TechCrunch. (will open in a new tab).

Another player in cellular communications from space is Apple, which announced last week that its iPhone 14 will have a satellite SOS service. (will open in a new tab) for emergencies through GlobalStar starting in November.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).

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