Students in rural Virginia to get SpaceX Starlink thanks to $233,000 grant

More students in rural Virginia with limited or no internet access will soon be able to browse the web using SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service through a $233,000 grant from The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

The funds, which came from VCEDA’s Education and Telehealth Access Fund and was matched with $155,000 from Wise County, will allow 94 students to receive Starlink service.

This now brings the total number of households with supported Starlink service to 274, and the number of students with Starlink to 438. Previously the Appalachian Council for Innovation received a grant to provide Starlink to 340 students in Wise County.

“This grant will primarily provide enhanced educational opportunities, but will also allow for health treatment expansion including improved telemedicine and enhanced workforce education and remote worker opportunities. Data shows students with high-speed broadband perform at one-half letter grade better than those without and we are proud to work alongside Wise County Public Schools in these efforts,” said Wise County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Brian Falin (via Johnson City Press)

The grant will pay for two years of service at the student’s household. After the two years the household will have to pay for continuing the service, or local officials could decide to continue funding the program.

While these students will receive Starlink at their rural homes, SpaceX is currently testing the satellite internet service on school buses in rural areas. According to a regulatory filing, the pilot program is focused on bus routes that are longer than 60 minutes each way and are “predominantly inaccessible to other mobile broadband services.”

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