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Elon Musk's SpaceX gets $885M from FCC to help bring broadband to rural US

Starlink satellites will beam internet to more than 600,000 locations across 35 states under the FCC's program.


The Falcon 9 launch in November 2019 carried 60 Starlink satellites.


The Federal Communications Commission has awarded SpaceX almost $886 million as part of a program to help bring high-speed internet to rural areas in the US. A total of 180 companies won part of the $9.2 billion up for grabs in phase one of the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. The money will help provide most rural areas with broadband speeds of at least 100/20 megabits per second -- and over 85% with gigabit speeds. 

Elon Musk's SpaceX was granted $885.5 million during the auction. Under the program, SpaceX has been assigned 642,925 locations across 35 states.

Read more: How SpaceX Starlink broadband will envelop Earth and transform the sky

The funding will be distributed over the next 10 years in equal monthly payments.

"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," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "They now stand to gain access to high-speed, high-quality broadband service."

SpaceX aims to improve internet speeds with a satellite service called Starlink. It's sending thousands of small satellites into orbit, which form constellations of flying routers that beam connectivity back to Earth.

SpaceX didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.