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White House And FCC Prioritize 5G Spend On Rural Broadband

US 5G

The White House and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have announced they will prioritize 5G to make sure America is at the forefront of pushing out the new technology. Also, they announced a plan to spend $20.4 billion to bring broadband to rural communities.

Cnet reported that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai plans to announce new airwave auctions to telecommunications companies to facilitate the endeavor.

The FCC is going to auction three segments of millimeter-wave spectrum, which is incredibly fast but has limited range, in December. The FCC will auction off 3,400 MHz of spectrum in three separate high-frequency bands.

“This will be the largest spectrum auction in American history,” Pai said in a call to reporters. “The U.S. is well-positioned to take a lead in 5G.” 

He added that he thinks the move puts the U.S. on good footing for the future.

The push for rural broadband is called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The FCC will allocate money from its Universal Service Fund for the next 10 years to subsidize companies that build out the infrastructure for areas in need. The new infrastructure will also help bring 5G tech to those areas.

“There are a number of startups that are working on millimeter wave technology to bring 5G to rural America,” Pai said.

The announcement from the government coincides with the deployment of 5G service in select cities by companies like AT&T and Verizon. Other countries are also racing to get the technology out, which is viewed as a necessary precursor to technologies like autonomous cars and streaming virtual reality.

Wireless companies need more spectrum to be made available to take advantage of the technology, and the FCC is taking steps to make that happen. In January, the FCC finished its first auction of high frequency millimeter spectrum in the 28GHz band. It raised upwards of $702 million in gross bids, and a total of 2,965 28GHz licenses were awarded.

Pai also said that the agency is working on making more mid-band spectrum available.

“Rest assured that we are making a priority of (making available) all bands for 5G,” he said.

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