FCC launches a $9 billion fund to expand 5G in rural areas

The Federal Communications Commission today launched the 5G Fund for Rural America, a 10-year, $9 billion program designed to help close the nation’s digital divide. The money will be used to expand 5G wireless broadband connectivity to areas of the United States that need this support, including regions without unsubsidized 4G LTE or 5G mobile broadband, and Tribal lands. Specifically, $680 million has been allocated for bidders focusing on Tribal lands.

That’s all part of Phase I, which has been budgeted $8 billion. Phase II provides $1 billion plus any unused money from the first round to build out 5G networks in support of precision agriculture. Any bidder that receives money from the 5G Fund agrees to establish 5G mobile broadband at speeds of at least 35/3 Mbps.