Hurricane Dorian, broadband funding and 3.5 GHz for 5G among FCC meeting topics
The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) open meeting, scheduled for Sept. 26th, is fast approaching, and in preparation, Chairman Ajit Pai has released a tentative outline of what will be discussed. The agenda highlights action related to Hurricane Dorian, broadband funding and draft procedures for an auction of the 3.5 GHz band for 5G services.
In response to Hurricane Dorian, the FCC is focusing on working with its federal and state partners to mitigate Dorian’s impact on the U.S.’s southeast coast. “Among other efforts,” Pai elaborated, “the Commission has already activated our system for monitoring and reporting network outages, and we’re helping to ensure that coordinated plans are in place to expedite any needed service restoration.”
Pai also provided insight into a draft Order that the FCC will be voting on during the meeting in three weeks. “The draft Order […] [allocates]about $950 million to improve, expand and harden broadband networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Pai explained. “Now that most carriers have largely restored service, it is time to authorize long-term funding to ensure that everyone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has access to the same high-speed fixed and mobile broadband networks as other Americans.”
Pai said he is “particularly pleased” with how the draft Order creates incentives for the deployment of gigabit-speed fixed broadband and 5G on the islands. “My goal is simple,” he added. “I want everyone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to be connected with digital opportunity.”
Last year, the FCC put rules in place to facilitate the deployment of 5G in the 3.5 GHz band, and the September meeting will include a vote to seek comment on draft procedures for an auction of 70 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band to begin on June 25, 2020. New spectrum is a crucial part of the Commission’s 5G FAST strategy, and according to Pai, is what will propel America into a leader in 5G wireless services.
“The 3.5 GHz band is prime spectrum for 5G services,” he stated.
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