A resident in Virginia has appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider its decision to deny $886 million in federal funding for SpaceX‘s Starlink system. The petition has gained the attention of rival satellite company Viasat, which has actively opposed the petition.
Greg Weisiger, a resident of Midlothian, Virginia, submitted the petition to the FCC on January 1, questioning the logic behind the commission’s denial of the funding. Weisiger believes that Starlink offers a reliable, affordable service for rural and insular locations across the US and argues that it would be a cost-effective alternative to traditional ISPs in delivering high-speed internet.
The FCC had previously denied SpaceX’s appeal for the funding, stating that Starlink was not capable of providing the required high-speed, low-latency service in the supported areas. Weisiger’s petition highlights the potential loss of federal support for bringing high-speed internet to his home and thousands of other locations in Virginia.
While the likelihood of the FCC reconsidering its decision is low, Viasat decided to respond to the petition by submitting its own filing last week, urging the FCC to dismiss Weisiger’s appeal. Viasat claims that the petition is procedurally defective and fails to provide any new facts or circumstances that were not already considered during the earlier stages of the proceeding.
Viasat has been a consistent opponent of SpaceX’s efforts to build out the Starlink network and sees this as an opportunity to prevent a potential revisit of the funding issue. The FCC’s response to the petition remains uncertain at this point.
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