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.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back