FCC to spend $20 billion for rural internet

An illustration of Earth with circuits covering North America and an Ethernet cable being plugged into the planet

Pai is also proposing to invest $20.4 billion over 10 years to build out high-speed broadband networks in rural America.

President Trump and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai are expected to announce the administration's latest plans to ensure U.S. leadership in 5G and expand high-speed broadband access to rural areas across the country. While telecom service providers are going with full gusto in the US, South Korea and other markets, smartphone makers are readying for 5G with a slew of devices. AT&T already offers mobile 5G by invitation in 19 markets through the use of the Netgear Nighthawk 5G mobile hot spot. Networks must be secured.

The announcement comes amid an intense race by countries to deploy the technology offering wireless speeds 10 to 100 times faster than now available. With 5G, a movie that takes minutes to download on your phone will load in seconds.

The Federal Communications Commission said Friday that it would hold the largest auction in USA history to boost wireless companies' networks.

Since November, the FCC has auctioned 1,550 megahertz of spectrum to be used by commercial wireless providers for 5G connectivity.

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The auction will be rolled out in December and is expected to be the largest-ever amount of airwaves any administration has ever auctioned off for commercial use. We are removing regularity barriers to the buildout of networks.

"From precision agriculture to smart transportation networks to telemedicine and more, we want Americans to be the first to benefit from this new digital revolution, while protecting our innovators and citizens", Pai said.

The $20.7 million Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, to come from existing FCC subsidy coffers, is meant to connect up to 4 million American homes over the next decade.

FILE - Attendees take pictures of the new Huawei Mate X foldable 5G smartphone during the Mobile World Congress wireless show, in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2019. It has effectively banned Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei from most US networks due to concerns that it might enable Chinese government spying, which the Huawei denies.

Trump on Friday said the 5G industry in the U.S. would be "private sector-driven and private sector-led", so the U.S. government does not have to spend lots of money. While Trump said the new networks "have to be guarded from the enemy", an opponent that went unnamed, he also indicated speed as a top priority for rolling out 5G.

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