In April, President Donald Trump revealed a $20-billion plan to bring broadband to rural communities across America.
Along with Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Trump announced an auction of radio frequencies that wireless communication signals can travel over in order to deploy 5G.
The pair also reviewed a “$20.4 billion investment in a Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to develop high-speed broadband networks into undeserved US rural areas over the next 10 years” (scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/3005988/us-announce-large-scale-5g-development-plans-race).
The FCC’s goal is to cover 90% of the population within 5 years. While this plan sounds great, extending America’s infrastructure to rural areas will prove difficult, time-consuming, and very expensive.
Because the millimeter-wave spectrum’s bandwidths used in urban areas don’t travel very far, rural communities will have to receive a type of 5G called sub-6 or low-band 5G, which will have less capacity but still be able to work with an enormous network.
It’s no secret that Americans in rural communities want better internet options, but there isn’t solid evidence that 5G will totally fix the issue. This is because the low-band 5G in the works for these areas won’t increase capacity enough to let homes use the same bandwidths that other US homes currently enjoy.
According to the New Food Economy, The FCC claims that “around 20 million Americans lack access to even the current broadband speed, which is defined as 25 Mbps”. (newfoodeconomy.org/broadband-rural-america-wireless-5g-technology-fcc/)
In some rural areas, like Rocky Mountain terrains, laying cable is impossible for physical reasons. In other areas, the customer base isn’t large enough for many service providers to lay cable. Due to these barriers, many Americans are forced to rely on cell phone coverage to get online.
What This Means For Rural Americans
We may see bigger changes in 5G in the coming years, but not now. Getting large amounts of bandwidth to rural America means building costly wireless networks over vast distances. In the upcoming years, distributed antenna systems (DAS) can be utilized to serve a broader customer area.
Living in the country is just a matter of life for many Americans, and while rural living provides many benefits, it appears that 5G won’t be one of them – at least any time soon.
In-Building Wireless is a San Fransisco-based company leading the way in cellular DAS, 5G, emergency responder radio communication systems, and in-building wireless solutions. If you would like to learn more about our wireless solutions, please schedule a consultation with our team today!