Elon Musk’s Mom ‘Furious’ After FCC Denies Rural Broadband Subsidies for Starlink

Elon Musk’s Mom 'Furious' After FCC Denies Rural Broadband Subsidies for Starlink

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Elon Musk’s mother criticized President Joe Biden after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied nearly $900 million in rural broadband subsidies for Starlink, a satellite internet service provided by SpaceX.

“I am the mother of @elonmusk His goal is to make this world a better place. @POTUS wants to stop him,” Maye Musk wrote in an X post on Wednesday. “Have you any idea how furious I am?”

She added: “People in other countries are proud of Elon and do not understand the US President’s motive. Please tell me how I should answer them.”

The five-member FCC, led by Democratic Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, reaffirmed its 2022 decision to deny $885.5 million in rural broadband subsidies for Starlink, saying that Mr. Musk’s satellite network had “failed to demonstrate that it could deliver the promised service.” Starlink had won the initial subsidies in 2020 as part of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program.

“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,” Ms. Rosenworcel wrote in a statement about the FCC’s decision.

The two Republican FCC commissioners, Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington, dissented from the decision. Mr. Carr wrote that the FCC was joining “the growing list of administrative agencies that are taking action against Elon Musk’s businesses,” adding that the decision “certainly fits the Biden Administration’s pattern of regulatory harassment.”

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“SpaceX’s technology is proven,” Mr. Simington wrote. “The proof is the millions of subscribers—many in areas that other providers and the FCC have failed to serve for decades—already receiving high-quality broadband service through Starlink.”

On Dec. 12, Mr. Musk wrote on X that the FCC’s decision “doesn’t make sense.”

“Starlink is the only company actually solving rural broadband at scale!” Mr. Musk wrote. “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.”

Earlier this month, SpaceX launched its 90th orbit mission this year, sending 23 Starlink satellites. After the launch, the Starlink constellation has over 5,500 satellites.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) took to X to thank Mr. Carr for “dissenting and drawing attention to this issue.”

“It’s disappointing to see the FCC used this way,” Mr. Massie wrote. “Starlink is currently the most cost efficient means of providing high speed internet to the unserved rural areas of Kentucky, and there’s no close second.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the FCC’s decision “lawless and arbitrary” in an X post on Dec. 13.

“I have repeatedly criticized the Biden administration’s record of bias against satellite broadband technology, particularly in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program,” Mr. Cruz wrote.

The Texas senator added, “The FCC’s lawless and arbitrary decision to reject Starlink’s application is fueled by unhinged, partisan animosity against Elon Musk, and yet another instance of the administration’s double standard against satellite broadband.”

“Putting the government’s thumb on the scales against certain technologies not only hurts innovation and taxpayer interests, but slows broadband deployment in rural areas where it’s needed most,” Mr. Cruz concluded.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent for the White House in 2024, also criticized the Biden administration over the FCC’s decision.

“Biden admin is weaponizing federal agencies against its political opponents. Now they’ve got the FCC going after @elonmusk,” Mr. Kennedy wrote on X on Dec. 14. 

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