The Competitive Carriers Association is not happy with the options proposed by the FCC for its 5G Fund. In a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the agency has two plans for distributing up to $9 billion in funding to help bring 5G to rural communities.
In Option A, the FCC would conduct the 5G Fund Phase I auction in 2021, using currently available flawed data, and in Option B, the Commission would conduct the Phase I auction after the FCC develops more granular mobile broadband data in a lengthy fashion.
CCA President/CEO Steve Berry said he’s “extremely discouraged” by the two proposed options. “The draft proposal sets up a false choice between, on the one hand, updating the FCC’s maps in line with the recently-enacted Broadband DATA Act but delaying funding for several years, and, on the other hand, moving forward using the flawed coverage data, simply for the sake of moving forward quickly. But these are plainly not the only options, nor the best options.”
Berry says there’s no reason why the FCC cannot follow the law that Congress mandated and distribute needed funding in a timely manner, with accurate data. “We should not be limiting ourselves to two inadequate options, but rather looking for real solutions to deploy mobile broadband as quickly as possible.”
Given the effects of the coronavirus and how American life has changed, “millions” are depending on broadband connections to access healthcare, family members, educational resources, and more, according to the executive. That’s especially true in rural America. “I can think of no more critical time to ensure rural Americans have a plan over the next decade to access essential mobile broadband services, and I strongly encourage the Commission to revisit its draft proposal, which falls woefully short of achieving this important goal,” says Berry.
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