Washington, DC – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) aimed at increasing rural wireless service availability. The FCC’s FNPRM introduces the Enhanced Competition Incentive Program (ECIP), which seeks to encourage licensees to partition, disaggregate, or lease spectrum to small carriers and Tribal Nations to provide wireless service throughout the country, and to an array of entities to provide wireless service in rural areas.
“RWA is pleased that Chairwoman Rosenworcel has put the spectrum needs of rural America on the front burner. For far too long rural Americans have had to languish on the sidelines while larger carriers warehouse spectrum bought at auctions that were designed to keep smaller rural carriers from meaningfully participating. This is the FCC’s opportunity to remedy the rural spectrum warehousing problem so that the promise of 5G (and 6G) can be pushed out to farms, ranches, oil and gas fields, forests and waterways,” said Carri Bennet, RWA General Counsel. “Getting fiber to fixed rural locations such as farms is important, but delivering wireless technology across farms and ranches to unlock precision agriculture applications is critical to feeding all Americans as we look to double our agricultural food supply by 2050. RWA looks forward to participating robustly in the proceeding.”
A copy of the draft FNPRM can be found here.