FCC funds 5G in the Caribbean - Mobile World Live

FCC funds 5G in the Caribbean

15 JUN 2020

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made its first move to finance 5G deployments, earmarking $237.9 million to help operators protect mobile infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

AT&T, T-Mobile US and Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC), which operates under the Clara brand, were chosen to receive $233.9 million to beef up their networks in the territory, with AT&T getting an additional $4 million to bolster its US Virgin Islands infrastructure. The monies will be distributed over three years.

The funding builds on $130 million already distributed to operators on the islands to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by hurricanes in 2017.

In a statement, FCC chairman Ajit Pai noted the latest batch of money includes nearly $59.5 million for next generation upgrades, “the first universal service funding the Commission has awarded anywhere in the country that is targeted for 5G deployment”.

For Puerto Rico, AT&T is set to receive $97.8 million, $24.5 million of which must go towards 5G; PRTC $76.5 million ($19.1 million); and T-Mobile $59.6 million ($14.9 million).

On the US Virgin Islands, AT&T must spend $1 million of the $4 million it receives on 5G.

There is a question mark on whether AT&T’s funding would be transferred to Liberty Latin America if a sale of assets on Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands goes through.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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