USDA, FCC Focus on Internet Capacity for Rural America

The Federal Communications Commission soon will establish the 5G Fund, which will make available up to $9 billion to deploy advanced 5G mobile wireless services in rural America.

The $9 billion fund would set aside at least $1 billion specifically for deployments facilitating precision agriculture needs. It also would target hard-to-serve areas with sparse populations or rugged terrain.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he has seen nationwide the “unique wireless connectivity needs” of farmers and ranchers, which is why the FCC will “reserve some of that funding for 5G networks that promote precision agriculture’s innovation.”

The USDA also continues to invest in internet services to rural America. It announced more grants last week connected to a $600 million allocation approved in March 2018. The program, known as “ReConnect,” awards loans and grants to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America.

Sources: FCC, USDA