FCC Announces $9 Billion Fund for Rural 5G

Posted by at 6:08 am on December 10, 2019

The FCC now has plans to make up to $9 billion available to carriers to deploy 5G in rural areas where building new coverage wouldn’t otherwise make economic sense.

The money will be be allotted from the Universal Service Fund, which aims to bring communication services to everyone, a key function of the FCC. The new fund will utilize a reverse auction, and at least $1 billion is earmarked for deployments that support precision agriculture. Other details have yet to be finalized.

The new fund replaces a similar initiative for rural 4G deployments, called Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II). The FCC was in the middle of carrying out MF-II but abruptly canceled the program when its own tests found that carriers had overstated their own existing coverage. Accurate maps of existing coverage are critical to programs like MF-II — and the new 5G fund — that aim to fill in major coverage gaps.

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