FCC moves ahead with $9 billion Rural 5G Fund2020-10-28 19:10 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, 5G
The Federal Communications Commission today launched the 5G Fund for Rural America, a 10-year, $9 billion program designed to help close the nation's digital divide.
The Report and Order adopted Tuesday at the FCC's open meeting sets up the 5G Fund for Rural America that includes up to $8 billion in Universal Service Fund (USF) dollars to be awarded in the first phase of a multi-round reverse auction for 5G buildouts over 10 years. These are focused on parts of the country that don't have unsubsidized 4G LTE or 5G mobile service.
Of that, $650 million is allocated for providers that plan to serve Tribal lands. The second phase provides at least $1 billion for deployments for precision agriculture technologies and areas remaining after Phase 1.
One key aspect of the order is that the FCC will rely on new, more precise and accurate broadband data maps to determine what areas of the country are lacking mobile service and therefore eligible for funds, before holding an auction. Those maps are meant to be developed as part of the Commission's Digital Opportunity Data Collection, but haven't been created yet.
Any bidder that receives money from the 5G Fund agrees to establish 5G mobile broadband at speeds of at least 35/3 Mbps.
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