FCC Rejects LTD Broadband and Starlink Bids for Broadband Subsidies

The Federal Communications Commission rejected the long-form applications of LTD Broadband and Starlink to receive support through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program. The FCC determined that these applications failed to demonstrate that the providers could deliver the promised service. Funding these vast proposed networks would not be the best use of limited Universal Service Fund dollars to bring broadband to unserved areas across the United States, the FCC concluded. In the initial auction results announced December 7, 2020, LTD Broadband won $1,320,920,718.60, and SpaceX (Starlink) won $885,509,638.40. Although LTD was a relatively small fixed wireless provider before the auction, it was the largest winning bidder in the auction, submitting winning bids in 15 states. Subsequently, it failed to timely receive eligible telecommunications carrier status in seven states, rendering it ineligible in those states for support. Ultimately, the FCC review concluded that LTD was not reasonably capable of deploying a network of the scope, scale, and size required by LTD’s extensive winning bids. The FCC separately announced that is ready to authorize $21,112,263 in broadband funding to three companies to deploy gigabit service to almost 15,000 locations in four states Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. 

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