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FCC to hold 5G auction, spend $20B for rural internet

14 April 2019

Surrounded by workers in hardhats and men and women in cowboy hats who Trump identified as farmers, the president said, "We can not allow any other country to outcompete the United States in this powerful industry of the future". According to the FCC, the fund will "inject" $20.4 billion into broadband networks to connect up to 4 million rural homes and businesses with high-speed broadband over the next decade.

While the U.S. leads in some key 5G-readiness metrics, China and other countries are ahead in making critical mid-band spectrum available for 5G, according to a report made in April by CTIA, a trade association representing the U.S. wireless communications industry and companies throughout the mobile ecosystem.

The first involves speeding up the rollout of 5G technology.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced Friday a $20.4 billion fund to expand rural broadband, plus the commission's third spectrum auction for 5G wireless coverage.

Trump acknowledged that he considered such a plan - opposed by the FCC and others - but ultimately backed away from it.

The announcement comes amid an intense race by countries around the world to deploy the technology offering wireless speeds 10 to 100 times faster than now available.

"I also suggest that the US government intervene and facilitate the resolution of conflicts between American technology companies so that they collaborate and effectively compete against the companies sponsored by foreign governments".

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The U.S. government will hold a massive auction later this year to bolster 5G service, the next generation of mobile networks.

"The work this administration's FCC has done to ensure America remains the world leader in internet and telecommunications technology will produce incalculable benefits for our economy for decades to come", Ken Cuccinelli, FreedomWorks Foundation Director of the Regulatory Action Center, said in a press statement.

A wireless trade organization says the U.S. Already leads the world in 5G and President Trump says he wants that to continue. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it poses a risk, even as US officials say the Shenzhen-based company may be obligated by law to cooperate with Chinese security services. He also took the opportunity to discuss Huawei.

"Leading through the government - we don't want to do that, because it won't be almost as good, almost as fast", Trump said.

Amid concerns over Huawei's links to the Chinese government, the FCC is mulling regulations to block the firm from networks in the US.

Before the event, the FCC met about opening up spectrum for 5G. While telecom service providers are going with full gusto in the US, South Korea and other markets, smartphone makers are readying for 5G with a slew of devices. Pai said consideration is "ongoing" without offering a deadline for a decision.

FCC to hold 5G auction, spend $20B for rural internet