"I’m thrilled with the incredible success of this auction, which brings welcome news to millions of unconnected rural Americans who for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide. They now stand to gain access to high-speed, high-quality broadband service," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a Monday release of auction results, which include 180 winners.
"Providers must meet periodic buildout requirements that will require them to reach all assigned locations by the end of the sixth year," the FCC said in its Monday release.
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund "Phase I auction" is part of the FCC’s broader effort to encourage broadband providers to bring internet service to hard-to-reach areas in the US.
"This auction was the single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide and is another key success for the Commission in its ongoing commitment to universal service. I thank our staff for working so hard and so long to get this auction done on time, particularly during the pandemic," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.
SpaceX has already launched hundreds of Starlink satellites, although not all of them are operational. Elon Musk’s company plans to fly a total of 12,000-42,000 satellites into orbit over the next seven years, with the aim of providing high-speed internet to any location on Earth.