The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Wednesday that it will establish a 5G fund. This will provide operators with up to $9 billion from the General Service Fund. According to FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, the new fund will be accessible through reverse auctions. The aim of this is to provide network coverage in sparsely populated, hard-to-reach or rugged terrain. At the same time, the FCC will earmark at least $1 billion from the fund for the deployment of precision agriculture needs.
Earlier, the FCC conducted a year-long investigation. It found that the 4G network coverage data submitted by some operators were unreliable. Thus, this could not promote the construction of the Mobility Fund II. Specifically, FCC staff conducted thousands of speed tests to measure network performance. It concluded that the Mobility Fund II coverage map submitted by some operators may exaggerate their actual coverage. This in many cases did not reflect the actual situation.
As a result, the FCC canceled the previous $4.5 billion rural 4G LTE subsidy fund and set up a 5G fund instead. Ajit Pai said that the FCC’s subsidy funds are designed to ensure that American rural areas do not fall behind in 5G.
“We must ensure that 5G narrows, not widens the digital divide, and allows rural residents in the United States to enjoy the benefits of wireless network innovation.”
Most of these small operators in rural areas use to prefer Huawei’s equipment. Not only is it cheaper, but it is also more readily available. Nevertheless, the new unanimous vote by the FCC says that government subsidies can not be used to purchase Huawei’s products. Recent report claims that Huawei plans to sue the FCC for this action.