The FCC Plans to Spend $9 Billion to Bring 5G Internet to Rural Americans




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Today the FCC announced plans to create a $9 billion fund to help bring 5G internet service to rural Americans. Similar to how the FCC has been helping offset the costs of broadband internet in rural America, the FCC now wants to help the rollout of 5G to rural Americans.

“5G has the potential to bring many benefits to American consumers and businesses, including wireless networks that are more responsive, more secure, and up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G LTE networks,” said Chairman Pai.  “We want to make sure that rural Americans enjoy these benefits, just as residents of large urban areas will.  In order to do that, the Universal Service Fund must be forward-looking and support the networks of tomorrow.   Moreover, America’s farms and ranches have unique wireless connectivity needs, as I’ve seen across the country.  That’s why I will move forward as quickly as possible to establish a 5G Fund that would bring next-generation 5G services to rural areas and would reserve some of that funding for 5G networks that promote precision agriculture.  We must ensure that 5G narrows rather than widens the digital divide and that rural Americans receive the benefits that come from wireless innovation.”

This fund will replace the fund that was created to help roll out 4G LTE to rural Americans. Now, these funds will be spent on 5G instead.

“I thank the FCC’s dedicated staff for their diligence in conducting the investigation that led to this report.  This investigation highlights the importance of drive testing to verify mobile coverage claims.  Staff drove nearly 10,000 miles in the course of conducting speed tests of carrier networks, an unprecedented effort that provided vital information about the extent of actual coverage on the ground.  Mobile carriers must submit accurate broadband coverage data to the Commission.  Simply put, we need to make sure that federal funding goes to areas that need it the most,” said Chairman Pai.

This all comes as most 5G networks are still limited to large cities. Now, this fund hopes to change that.

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