Former FCC Commissioner McDowell Says $3B Private Capital Needed for 5G


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“There are too many places in this country where they aren’t talking about 5G, they’ve got no G,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel at a recent tech policy event, held by public interest groups Next Century Cities, Public Knowledge, and the American Action Forum.

Elected officials, policy leaders, industry experts, and around 200 attendees gathered to discuss tech policy priorities and determine action steps for the new Congress, according to the groups. Panel moderator Next Century Cities Executive Director Deb Socia, noted that internet access is an issue for 58 percent of rural Americans, and Rosenworcel responded that the FCC can and should be collecting more accurate data in order to address the problem.

In a separate panel, Blair Levin, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, said: “We need to have a race to the top,” as a country to innovate around 5G. He also explained that local government should be empowered to make decisions around the issue, because, “The digital divide is going to get greater… Some areas are going to get fiber and 5G, and cities next door will struggle to get good broadband access.”

Both Levin and former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell criticized aspects of federal broadband deployment programs. McDowell stated that, in the end, the more than $300 billion in private investment capital is what will determine the future of 5G in America, not a $600 million federal program.

Watch the event here.

January 22, 2019

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