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The FCC is revitalizing the 5G Fund for Rural America with Open RAN



March 27, 2024

The FCC, led by Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, is revitalizing the 5G Fund for Rural America with a new emphasis on Open RAN technology.

  • This initiative, which was initially introduced in 2019, has been updated to leverage recent data from the FCC’s improved broadband coverage map.
  • More than 14 million homes and businesses currently lack mobile 5G coverage, which this plan aims to address.
  • The 5G Fund will distribute up to $9 billion through a multi-round reverse auction to support rural voice and 5G mobile broadband services.
  • An additional $900 million is allocated for incentives to integrate Open RAN into 5G Fund-supported networks, promoting competition, national security, and supply chain reliability.
  • Future steps include modifying the eligibility criteria for the auction, ensuring inclusion of areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and requiring cybersecurity and supply chain risk management plans from recipients.