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FCC to hold big 5G auction, spend $20B for rural internet

FCC to hold big 5G auction, spend $20B for rural internet

It will be the largest spectrum auction in US history.

The United States has good chances to outcompete other players in developing 5G telecommunications network, Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Ajit Pai said during a press briefing.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai joined the president for the event, announcing the biggest auction of wireless spectrum in history by December.

Pai spoke on a call with reporters ahead of the White House event with Trump and rural residents who could benefit from faster networks to tout the administration's efforts to boost 5G wireless networks and funding for rural broadband.

"And we don't want rural Americans to be left behind", he said.

To pay for it, Pai said the agency plans to repurpose money from the Universal Service Fund.

"We want to be the leader in this", Trump said, making it a priority of his administration. Each year for the next decade, $2 billion dollars would go toward rural carriers to build out the broadband network.

Friday's announcement comes in the face of rising competition from China and other nations that are moving swiftly to develop 5G technology.

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Rosenworcel, a frequent critic of Pai's, applauded the FCC for selling off more high-band spectrum, but said the federal government is writing off mid-band spectrum - which offers lower speeds over longer ranges - potentially costing the United States a competitive advantage.

Trump on Friday said the 5G industry in the United States would be "private sector-driven and private sector-led", so the U.S. government does not have to spend lots of money.

Trump said the 5G industry in the United States would be "private sector-driven and private sector-led", so the USA government does not have to spend lots of money.

5G is expected to provide service up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks.

The upcoming airwaves auction is not the first of the 5G era.

Of the three chunks of millimeter waves to be sold in the upcoming auction, two - located in the 37 GHz and 47 GHz bands - are now unoccupied, according to the FCC. On Friday, the FCC kicked off its process for designing the auction protocols in its monthly meeting. Networks must be secured.

The FCC's own 2018 broadband report estimates that 30 million Americans lack access to high-speed internet, though a recent fact sheet released by the Commission touting progress in broadband deployment was dubbed as "misleading" by critics, including Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Chairman Pai told Yahoo Finance 5G has the potential to create an internet economy that would "dwarf what we saw with 4G", though it's hard to estimate 5G's economic impact at this point. Pai said consideration is "ongoing" without offering a deadline for a decision.