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FCC announces new tech initiatives

April 18, 2019

The Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai outlined two new initiatives aimed at ensuring U.S. leadership in 5G and continuing efforts to close the digital divide. Pai announced his intent to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which he indicated would inject $20.4 billion into high-speed broadband networks in rural American over the next decade. The FCC said the fund represents the FCC’s biggest step to close the digital divide and should connect up to 4 million rural homes and small businesses to high-speed broadband networks. However, Route Fifty has reported that the fund is a rebranding of the current Connect America Fund, albeit with higher speeds and more money.

The FCC will draft a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the fund, which the commission will vote on, followed by a public comment period before the commission votes on final rules.

In an effort to lead in 5G connectivity — the next generation of wireless connectivity that is promising faster speeds, lower lag times and more capacity — Pai announced that the FCC intends to start its third 5G auction on Dec. 10, 2019, which will be the largest in American history. The FCC will be selling 3,400 megahertz in three different spectrum bands at one time.

fcc, broadband