The FCC Thursday released a staff report detailing how a plan for establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America could make as much as 67 percent of land in 49 states and three U.S. territories eligible for 5G fund support. Later this month, the Commission will vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would seek comment on two different approaches to the 5G Fund: one using currently available data to start an auction in 2021, and a second option which would wait for new mobile broadband coverage data and begin the auction no earlier than 2023.
If adopted, the 5G Fund for Rural America would distribute up to $9 billion across the country for 5G connectivity, with $8 billion available in Phase I to target rural areas unlikely to see timely deployment of 5G service absent support or under the T-Mobile transaction commitments. If adopted, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would seek comment on two options the Commission could take in implementing the first phase of the 5G Fund.
The staff report entitled, “Working Toward the 5G Fund for Rural America: Option A Eligibility Analysis,” details how much of each state’s area and population could be eligible for funding for next-generation 5G wireless service if the auction proceeds in 2021. The report includes maps showing how this approach could impact each state.