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Home / Business / Ajit Pai proposes $ 20 billion for "up to" gigabit speed rural broadband

Ajit Pai proposes $ 20 billion for "up to" gigabit speed rural broadband



  An illustration of the Earth, with circuits covering North America and an Ethernet cable plugged into the planet.

Getty Images | Henry5000

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposes a $ 20.4 billion broadband fund that can link up to four million homes and small businesses over the next ten years.

The new program will be part of the Universal Service Fund (USF), and it will be similar to an existing USF program that began during the Obama administration. In 201

5, USF Connect America Fund (CAF) called $ 9 billion for rural broadband deployment – $ 1.5 billion a year for six years – to connect 3.6 million homes and businesses.

Carriers who accepted the CAF money must complete broadband deployment by the end of 2020. Pais proposed Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will be the follow-up program, told an FCC spokesman Ars. The fund will "inject $ 20.4 billion into high-speed broadband networks in rural America over the next decade," the FCC said.

At $ 2 billion a year over ten years, the fund will spend more money each year over a longer period of time than the CAF program it would replace. It will also finance higher speed services. CAF funding only requires operators, including AT & T and CenturyLink, to distribute broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

In November 2018, Pai said he was proposing to raise the standard for subsidized distributions from 10 Mbps / 1 Mbps to 25 Mbps / 3 Mbps. But the program that was announced today will also try to go beyond the minimum of 25 Mbps / 3 Mbps. In an email to reporters, the Pai office said the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will "give up to gigabit speed broadband in those parts of the country most in need of connectivity."

The new fund is "the only major step for the FCC yet to close the digital division and will connect up to four million rural homes and small businesses to high-speed broadband networks," said Pai's office.

About 20 million Americans lack access to fixed broadband with speeds of at least 25 Mbps down and 3Mbps up, according to FCC data.

Internet service providers will compete for funding

The new fund will distribute the money in a reverse auction, a type of competitive bidding process. broadband deployment is similar to the previous program, it will end up providing wired broadband in some areas and stuck wirelessly in others.

The FCC said the home and business broadband construction will "help support future 5G technologies" which may be a reference to the fact that cellular networks require a lot of fiber to provide bandwidth for cell sites, 5G can also become important to home broadband-ve rizon has used its early, non-standard version of 5G to distribute home internet in limited parts of some cities.

Last month, Pai proposed a new spending cabinet on the FCC's Universal Service Programs that distribute broadband to poor people and to rural and other child areas. This can ultimately limit the amount of Lifeline subsidies that provide discounts on telephone and broadband service to low-income customers. However, it should not interfere with Pai's rural fund plan, because the proposed cap is higher than the USF's total current expenses.

All universal service programs are paid by Americans through fees on their phone bills.

5G Spectrum Auction In December

Pai today announced that a spectrum auction for frequencies to be used with 5G services will begin on December 10, 2019. This auction was already scheduled and will auction Upper 37 GHz licenses, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands. The FCC has already auctioned 5G frequencies in 28GHz and has a 24GHz auction starting March 14th.

"With these auctions, the FCC will release almost 5 gigahertz 5G spectrum in the market – more than any other flexible utility band combined. We're working to release another 2.75 gigahertz 5G spectrum in the 26 and 42 GHz bands," FCC FCC also tries to release mid-band spectrum in 2.5GHz, 3.5GHz and 3.7-4.2GHz bands for 5G

Pai and President Trump will talk to the public about the 5G plans this afternoon. [19659019]
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