FCC announces billions of dollars in awards to provide rural areas with broadband access

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday awarded $9.2 billion in funding to help companies provide broadband Internet service to millions of Americans without access to reliable service.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the awards the “single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide.”

Among the big winners was Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has been launching dozens of satellites at a time in a bold attempt to build a massive constellation in space that would help serve remote or rural areas. The company received $886 million from the FCC to help serve hundreds of thousands of customers in 35 states, a huge boost in its quest to pull off a feat even Musk has said had a high likelihood of failure.

So far the company has launched nearly 1,000 satellites as part of its Starlink constellation and has begun a pilot program in the northern United States and southern Canada it calls “Better Than Nothing.”