Critics Say the FCC’s Big New Rural Broadband Plan Doesn’t Offer Much That’s New


The FCC on Friday received a wave of largely positive press for a new broadband proposal the government claims will revolutionize telecom markets and help drive fiber and fifth-generation (5G) wireless to rural America. But industry watchers say the agency’s proposal is light on actual details, and much of the plan isn’t actually new.

In an afternoon press conference flanked by cellular industry workers clad in cowboy hats and cellular tower climbing gear, the Trump administration celebrated the FCC’s new plan, proclaiming it would put the United States on track to win the “race to 5G.”

“It’s all about 5G,” President Trump said. “We’re at 4G and everybody was saying we have to get 4G. And then they said before that we have to get 3G. And now we have to get 5G and 5G is a big deal.”

In a fact sheet circulated among reporters Friday morning, the FCC stated a cornerstone of the FCC’s plan includes an already-announced December auction of 3,400 megahertz of millimeter wave spectrum. Such spectrum has the potential to offer faster speeds, but suffers from distance and signal penetration issues that limit its utility in more rural markets.

Another key part of the plan, the FCC