Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans for a $9 billion fund to help carriers deploy 5G wireless service in rural America, which will replace an existing program that supported 4G LTE networks.
The 5G Fund will be distributed through a reverse auction and will target areas with difficult terrain or sparse populations. The FCC will set aside at least $1 billion for projects facilitating precision agriculture.
According to a report released by the FCC this week, the previous Mobility Fund Phase II was marred by inaccurate data provided by carriers. Based on speed tests conducted over nearly 10,000 miles of driving, FCC staff determined that "coverage maps submitted by certain carriers likely overstated each provider's actual coverage and did not reflect on-the-ground experience in many instances."
Telecoms have charged ahead to deploy 5G in urban areas since the spring, with limited launches in downtown neighborhoods. But rural areas have lagged behind.