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FCC allocates $9.2 billion to rural broadband, $885 million to SpaceX

Paris, 8 December 2020. – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the winning bidders of its $9.2 billion program to bring high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses across the United States.

The auction results of Phase 1 of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund show that the highest amount – $1.3 billion – was assigned to the internet provider LTD Broadband; the cable company Charter Communications (CCO Holdings) received the highest number of locations – over a million – and $1.2 billion in federal subsidies, followed by the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium ($1.1 billion) and SpaceX for Starlink ($885 million).

Overall, a total of 180 bidders won auction support over the next decade, the FCC said. A broad range of providers competed in this first phase, including cable and satellite operators, electric cooperations, telephone companies and fixed wireless providers. $6.8 billion that were set aside for the first phase were not allocated but rolled over into the second phase, the agency said, increasing the available budget in that second round to up to $11.2 billion.

In October, the FCC also launched its 5G Fund for Rural America which will distribute up to $9 billion over ten years to bring 5G wireless broadband to unserved areas in rural America.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Say YES to diversity and gender equality in the space sector: a look at the Diversity and Gender Equality Project Group of the SGAC

Diversity is difficult to measure and quantify, given all the aspects and shapes it takes, yet it is easy to witness and observe the lack of it in many fields including the space sector. If the space sector and all its disciplines should be used to help improve life on earth and observe it (amongst other purposes), shouldn't it be represented by all terrestrial individuals equally? In an ideal world, yes! But history and social biases have prevented our progress towards this perfect world, and we find ourselves today with a space sector still dominated by cis white-male individuals.