FCC Denies Starlink and LTD Broadband RDOF Applications

On August 10, 2022, the FCC announced that it was rejecting the long-form applications of Starlink and LTD Broadband to receive support through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program.  Starlink had initially won over $885 million in funding, and LTD Broadband had initially won $1.32 billion in funding, the largest winning bidder in the auction.

In a Public Notice released concurrently with the press release, the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force, Wireline Competition Bureau, and the Office of Economics and Analytics (collectively the “FCC”), concluded that LTD Broadband and Starlink are not reasonably capable of complying with the Commission’s requirements based upon their applications, their expansive service areas reflected in their winning bids, and their inadequate responses to the FCC’s follow-up questions.  In particular, the FCC noted that as of July 31, 2022, Ookla data indicated that Starlink’s speeds have been declining from the last quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022, falling below 20 Mpbs and well below the 100/20 Mbps speeds required to receive the requested funding under Starlink’s application.  Accordingly, the FCC denied both applications and both companies are in default on all their winning bids.

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