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State leader questions high cost for Starlink internet service

One company receiving funds is offering satellite internet service and has the attention of Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley.

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 7:27 PM

STATEWIDE, Miss. (WTVA) -- During the pandemic, people or school students working from home in some counties have struggled with a lack of broadband internet.

The Federal Communications Commission has opened up money to help get coverage to those areas.

A computer keyboard. 02-01-2021.

One company receiving funds is offering satellite internet service and has the attention of one public service commissioner.

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced on Facebook he sent a letter to SpaceX/Starlink addressing the $499 fee the company is wanting to charge new customers.

Starlink is a subsidiary of SpaceX.

SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, recently won approval for $44,000,000 (million) in federal funding to bring its services to Mississippi.

The company now needs approval from state leaders before it can get that money. Presley is questioning SpaceX, saying he thinks the upfront fee is simply not feasible for people in Mississippi. He gave a quote listed below:

“Starlink applied for and received $44 million from the FCC in free money to provide broadband access in Mississippi. The Public Service Commission must give final approval on these projects under both state and federal law. It has been widely publicized that Starlink may charge $499 just for equipment to even be able to receive their service. The FCC has been very clear that those who win the grants awards cannot overcharge for service. I feel that asking a rural Mississippian $499 in upfront equipment cost violates the purpose of the federal funds and creates a roadblock to internet access. I’ve asked Starlink to present a plan to me that would take away this $499 upfront fee.”

Silas McDowell of Columbus uses the internet regularly for work, and his son uses it for video-gaming. He said the price is too high.

“Yeah, that’s steep,” McDowell said. “I don’t think a lot of folks will be willing to pay that.”

However, he added if SpaceX can offer something to justify that money, he might reconsider.

“Of course, the other question is what’s the monthly service gonna be, or the monthly rates gonna be after that initial 500-dollar cost,” McDowell said.

Crystal Moore of Houston agreed that people in Mississippi would likely not pay for the services.

“I think that’s extremely high,” Moore said. “People are working hard for their money to spend five hundred dollars for their internet service, I mean that’s ridiculous.”

WTVA reached out to SpaceX on Monday for comment, but has not heard back yet.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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