NTIA Says Billions Requested for Broadband, Starlink Hits Milestone, AMC CEO to Step Down

The NTIA said $2.5B requested for broadband program, SpaceX ships 100K terminals, AMC appoints interim CEO.

NTIA Says Billions Requested for Broadband, Starlink Hits Milestone, AMC CEO to Step Down
NTIA's Acting Administrator Evelyn Remaley

August 25, 2021—The National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce said it had received hundreds of applications and more than two billion dollars in requested funding as part of its Broadband Infrastructure Program.

On Tuesday, the NTIA announced in a press release that it had received more than 230 applications from across 49 states with requested monies totaling more than $2.5 billion. The Broadband Infrastructure Program grants are funded by $288 million carved out by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

The administration announced that because it received so many applications, it would give priority to applications covering the greatest number of households, rural areas, and applications that would provide consumers with at least 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

The speed consideration was added despite division amongst experts—with some arguing that speed requirements are arbitrary and only serve as a means to incentivize fiber adoption. Others argue that higher speed requirements are necessary to ensure that consumers have access to the bandwidth necessary to utilize modern online services and build sustainable, future-proof, infrastructure.

In the statement from the NTIA, Acting Administrator Evelyn Remaley stated that the agency remained committed to bridging the digital divide.

“The state and local governments leading these proposed projects are strong partners with the federal government in closing the digital divide,” she said. “We look forward to working closely with them in these efforts to expand Internet access throughout the country.”

On Monday, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that SpaceX had delivered 100,000 terminals to customers.

In subsequent Tweets, Musk indicated that Starlink is now operating in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Austria, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, New Zealand, and Australia, and that their license to operate were pending approval in “many more countries.”

“Hoping to serve Earth soon!” Musk tweeted.

These tweets follow a recent report published by Ookla that Starlink is currently outperforming rival satellite service providers, providing a median download speed of 97.23 Mbps compared to HughesNet and Visasat with 19.73 and 18.13 Mbps, respectively. The report also noted that Starlink was able to provide latency – the time it takes for devices to connect to satellites – that is on par with fixed wireless broadband services.

AMC CEO steps down

Matthew Blank will be stepping in as interim CEO of AMC Networks following Josh Sapan’s move over to executive vice chairman of the company.

Sapan has served in his role for nearly 30 years, with AMC airing some of the U.S.’ most popular shows during that time, including “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad.”

The news was announced after AMC enjoyed a year of record-setting stocks over the course of the pandemic, enjoying a brief stint as a “meme stock.”

“This has been the greatest career I could have ever imagined, and I am enormously proud of all that we have accomplished,” Sapan said according to Variety. Sapan also stated that he looked forward to continuing to work with AMC with a focus on sustaining and growing AMC’s streaming efforts.

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