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FCC Allows Satellite Companies to Apply for Rural Broadband Funding as ‘Low-Latency’ Providers

By | June 11, 2020
      Communication network around Earth. Photo: NASA, Via Satellite

      Communication network around Earth. Photo: NASA, Via Satellite

      The Federal Communications Commission has reversed course on whether to let SpaceX and other satellite providers apply for rural-broadband funding as low-latency providers. But Chairman Ajit Pai said companies like SpaceX will have to prove they can offer low latencies, as the FCC does not plan to “fund untested technologies.”

      Pai’s original proposal classified SpaceX and all other satellite operators as high-latency providers for purposes of the funding distribution, saying the companies haven’t proven they can deliver latencies below the FCC standard of 100ms. Pai’s plan to shut satellite companies out of the low-latency category would have put them at a disadvantage in a reverse auction that will distribute $16 billion from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

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