In a videoconference and follow up letter, the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) and NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association, urged the FCC to “establish a 5G Fund for Rural America “ by allowing “rural carriers currently receiving frozen legacy support to continue…receiving legacy support at increased levels totaling $1.5 billion over 10 years.”
In return, these carriers would make “Rural 5G deployment commitments in their legacy support areas within Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes 5-10.” To date, the letter noted, “5G has only been deployed in select portions of select urban areas and that…no one has deployed 5G in RUCAs 5-10.”
Benefits to rural consumers, and those traveling through rural America, include the provision of “telehealth, precision agriculture services for farms and ranches as well as increased efficiencies for ranching, oil and gas production and sustainable energy production for solar farms, wind farms, and hydraulics.”
This new “Phase 0 would be limited to legacy support carriers with 500,000 or fewer subscribers and targeted in a way that ensures no area receives duplicative support.” In addition to the $1.5 billion for the proposed Phase 0, $6 billion should be allocated for Phase 1 and another $1.5 billion for Phase 2, according to the two rural broadband associations. NTCA and RWA do a great job of representing RLEC interests and advocating on their behalf. This is another compelling and well-presented proposal to help RLECs bring 5G to rural America.