According to GeekWire, a group of senators led by Senator Maria Cantwell are pushing to use proceeds from an upcoming 5G spectrum auction to boost rural broadband.
According to the Pew Research Center, despite improvements in recent years, there is still a significant gap in broadband service between urban/suburban and rural Americans. While 79% of suburban residents enjoy home broadband and 75% of urban residents do, that number drops to only 63% for rural Americans. Some 83% of urban and suburban Americans enjoy broadband access on their smartphones, compared to only 71% of those who live in rural areas.
Senator Cantwell hopes the upcoming 5G spectrum auction may provide the funds to help close that divide. According to GeekWire, “Cantwell introduced legislation this week that would ensure some of the proceeds from a public auction of C-Band airwaves would be invested in rural broadband deployment and next-generation 9-1-1 networks.”
The C-band spectrum is currently used by satellite companies for video and radio programming, but the FCC plans to free it up for 5G wireless. If Senator Cantwell and her colleagues get their way, rural Americans may gain better access to broadband options.