5G Fund for Rural America, FCC Disaster Information Reporting System, US Cellular Expands 5G,

The FCC will also consider new rules to streamline satellite policies and expedite processing space and earth station applications.

5G Fund for Rural America, FCC Disaster Information Reporting System, US Cellular Expands 5G,
Photo of Mike Irizarry

The Federal Communications Commission will consider an item at its September open meeting that would move the agency closer to launching a 5G Fund, which has been pending since 2020, announced the agency Wednesday.

“The need for high-speed mobile services has never been more critical, yet there are some areas of our country that continue to lack access to any mobile broadband service at all,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

The FCC’s 5G Fund for Rural America was created in 2020 to ensure the deployment of next-generation, high-speed mobile service in areas of the country where it continues to be lacking, she said. The fund makes $9 billion available to bring 5G mobile to rural areas unlikely to receive it otherwise based on mobile coverage data submitted in the FCC’s broadband data collection, outlined on the national broadband map.

Commissioners will vote in the meeting to explore a series of questions on how to best harness new, granular and improve mobile coverage data from broadband data collection to better target 5G Fund support to those areas of the country where it is needed most.

In the meeting, the FCC will also consider new rules to streamline satellite policies and expedite the processing of space and earth station applications, vote on rules to modernize direct access to numbers by providers of voice services to crack down on malicious robocalls, and will update “obsolete” media rules.

FCC announces expansion of disaster information reporting system

The FCC announced Wednesday that it is expanding its disaster data collection to counties in South Carolina following Hurricane Idalia hit this week.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC, in coordination with Florida, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System in response to Hurricane Idalia.

DIRS is a voluntary, web-based system that communications providers can use to report communications infrastructure status and situational awareness information in times of crisis.

The FCC requested that communications providers that provide service to any areas it listed “expeditiously submit and update information through DIRS” regarding the status of their communications equipment, restoration efforts and power, whether they are using commercial power or back-up power.

Reports are requested at 9am eastern time every day until DIRS is deactivated. Areas include certain counties in Florida and South Carolina.

USCellular expands 5G network

Wireless carrier USCellular announced Tuesday that it has received full access to the 5G C-band spectrum it was awarded in a spectrum auction in 2021, which will allow it to expand its 5G network faster than anticipated.

C-band spectrum is mid-band spectrum, considered the optimum frequency for transmitting wireless signals because of its unique mixture of speed and coverage.

Earlier this year, USCellular upgraded more than 440 cell sites in preparation for this spectrum access and the company reported that it will turn on this enhanced 5G service in the coming weeks – three months ahead of schedule.

“This early access to our C-band spectrum allows us to accelerate our plans and bring a superior network experience to more mobile and home internet customers earlier than expected,” said Mike Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer. “Additional spectrum access is important as we advance our mission to connect people to what matters most.”

This spectrum adds to recent 5G network expansion builds that began in 10 states earlier this year.

Popular Tags