WASHINGTON — At its upcoming October Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will will consider a Report and Order that would establish the 5G Fund for Rural America to ensure that all Americans have access to the next generation of wireless connectivity.
Under this Report and Order, the FCC would disburse up to $9 billion, with $680 million reserved for Tribal lands. There would also be at least $1 billion set aside to support networks that facilitate precision agriculture, the first foray for the FCC and the USF into specifically supporting the agriculture industry.
Rural & Agriculture Council of America (RACA) President Jack Alexander urged support for the Report and Order:
“COVID-19 has only served to further the accessibility gap between rural and urban areas, with urban and suburban areas already reaping the benefits of access to faster, more reliable broadband. Rural America is unlikely to get the support it needs without federal support. This Report and Order would ensure that additional support is available in areas with more challenging terrain and, thus, a weaker business case for deployment. It would also require minimum network speeds and make allowances for smaller service providers to compete with more established providers for funding, increasing the options available to rural communities.
“In short, implementation of this measure will allow rural America play a role in the nation’s recovery. The 5G Rural Fund for America will fast-track the deployment of 5G capabilities to rural America and we urge Commissioners to approve the measure at its upcoming October 27th meeting.”
–Rural & Agriculture Council of America