US infrastructure bill set to boost mobile, FWA

US infrastructure bill set to boost mobile, FWA

08 NOV 2021
lawmakers

The US House of Representatives passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, $65 billion of which is set to support broadband internet providers, including mobile network operators.

The infrastructure bill will allow providers of mobile and fixed wireless services the opportunity to compete with fiber providers for funding, a spokesperson for the Wireless Infrastructure Association told Mobile World Live.

Almost two thirds of the broadband funding ($42.5 billion) will be allocated to state governments, which will be instructed to fund projects that will connect underserved communities.

Areas in which residents cannot access internet speeds of at least 25 Mb/s downstream and 3 Mb/s upstream will be eligible for funding. Providers receiving funding will be required to offer at least 100 Mb/s downstream and 20 Mb/s upstream.

US mobile network operators have introduced fixed wireless access internet services as they have deployed 5G infrastructure. T-Mobile US and Verizon both highlighted these initiatives during their third quarter earnings calls.

The infrastructure bill also provides $14.2 billion for a programme called the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will subsidise broadband service for consumers, building on the Federal Communication Commission’s existing Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB).  Like the EBB, the Affordability Connectivity Benefit will allow consumers to purchase mobile service with the funds. 

The infrastructure bill has already passed the US Senate, and now President Biden is expected to sign it into law.

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Martha DeGrasse

Freelance tech journalist Martha DeGrasse (@mardegrasse) is delighted to be contributing to Mobile World Live. Martha has written for a number of telecom and wireless publications, and was a writer, editor and video producer at RCR Wireless News for almost...

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