5G Fund for Rural America

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Members of Congress Regarding the 5G Fund for Rural America

On April 24, members of Congress wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to "urge the FCC to carefully consider and account for the impact of investments funded by the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to maximize the reach and efficiency of the 5G Fund." On July 2, Chairwoman Rosenworcel responded, agreeing that it is critical to maximize the efficiency and impact of federal broadband programs.

5G Fund: How many locations will be eligible for this $9 billion program for rural 5G?

As all of us have focused on the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program to bring fixed broadband to rural areas, the Federal Communications Commission has quietly moved another program forward: the proposed “5G Fund for Rural America”, a program that could be as large as $9 billion. As of March 2024, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated to colleagues a draft order that would restart the 5G Fund.

Rural Broadband Advocacy in Action

The rural broadband industry has such a great success story to tell. In the face of transformative technologies, regulatory challenges and increasing competition, you have embraced that change, stayed committed and looked to close the digital divide by delivering the robust and high-quality services that you do every single day. Your commitment to sustainable networks and affordable services is what really has made rural communities fertile ground for innovation. We’ve seen that in so many ways, and this innovation contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy every single year.

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Proposes New 5G Fund Rules

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called on the FCC to move ahead with plans to make targeted investments in the deployment of wireless broadband services in rural communities. The proposed rules shared with her fellow Commissioners would, if adopted by a vote of the full Commission, relaunch the 5G Fund for Rural America.

Benton Welcomes Circuit Court Decision that Underscores the Importance and the Validity of the Universal Service Fund

"The USF is a critical tool to provide, among other things, Lifeline internet and voice service to low-income Americans, and reduced-rate internet access to schools, libraries and healthcare providers. Today's opinion underscores the importance—and the validity—of the Congressionally-mandated USF program.

Who Had the Most Fun at the Oversight of President Biden's Broadband Takeover Hearing?

The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a Federal Communications Commission oversight hearing that included testimony from each of the five (yes, there are five now) FCC commissioners. A partisan tone was set by the get-go as the title for the hearing was "Oversight of President Biden's Broadband Takeover." The key questions for the Republican Members of the panel going into the hearing were:

Sound Broadband: Spectrum Holder LICT Makes Big FWA Moves

LICT is best known as a rural broadband consolidator, but several months ago the company quietly added Sound Broadband to its holdings, not through an acquisition, but organically.

FCC Seeks to Target USF Support for Rural Wireless Broadband Services

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking further comment on the 5G Fund for Rural America to reignite the FCC's plan to expand the deployment of 5G service to rural communities that remain trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide.

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for September 2023 Open Meeting

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the September Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 21, 2023. The FCC will consider:

The Rural Cellular Crisis

Some counties have a bigger cellular coverage problem than they do a broadband problem. There are often a much larger number of homes in a county that don’t have adequate cellular coverage than those that can’t buy broadband. I always knew that the cellular coverage maps published by the big cellular carriers were overstated; now I know that they are pure garbage. Before the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission came up with a plan to spend $9 billion from the Universal Service Fund to build and equip new rural cellular towers—using a reverse auction method.