White House, FCC Unveil 5G Push and $20B Fund For Rural Broadband

The White House on Friday will unveil a new 5G push to position the US ahead of global rivals in the race to deploy the next-generation wireless technology. President Donald Trump and Federal Communications Chairman Ajit Pai will announce new airwaves auctions and plans to spend $20.4 billion over 10 years on rural broadband. From a report: The FCC will auction off three segments of millimeter-wave spectrum — which can offer insane data speeds but has limited range — for commercial use. The auction is scheduled for December, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on a conference call with reporters ahead of the White House event. He said the FCC plans to auction off 3,400 MHz of spectrum in three different high-frequency bands. “This will be the largest spectrum auction in American history,” he said. Pai went onto say that this auction, along with others planned for the future, are putting the US on a good path. “The US is well-positioned to take a lead in 5G,” he said.

The FCC is also announcing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The agency plans to reallocate $20.4 billion from its Universal Service Fund over the next 10 years to subsidize eligible companies to build out broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. The money will be allocated to internet service providers that can provide a minimum of 25 megabit per second downloads in areas that are currently in need of connectivity, Pai said. He added that the new infrastructure will also help bring 5G to these rural areas. “There are a number of startups that are working on millimeter wave technology to bring 5G to rural America,” he said on the call.

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