Is the US ready for 5G? Nope – not according to Fortune

I’ve written before about 5G. It’s going to be fast. Although not a standard yet we’re see examples of how it’s working in urban areas. BUT it’s not a realistic option for rural area. I thought I’d share the most recent discussion from Fortune

However, the U.S. is not as well-prepared to capitalize on this opportunity [5G]. The U.S does not currently have sufficient fiber to densify the network with thousands of new small cells and hot spots, increase network capacity, and accommodate the projected four-fold growth in data traffic through 2021. Investment in “deep fiber” pushed closer to the customer could help the U.S. continue to lead in wireless innovation and foster the economic boost generated by 5G.

Investing in fiber will help prepare for 5G and close the urban-rural broadband gap…

Investing in deep fiber as we upgrade our nation’s communications infrastructure creates an opportunity to increase broadband competition and create more options for consumers. Only 39% of U.S. households have access to more than one broadband provider that offers 25 megabits per second (Mbps) or greater.

Deep fiber investment also offers an opportunity to help close the digital divide in choice, affordability, and performance that exists between rural and urban geographies. Currently, only 60% of rural communities have access to fixed broadband, whereas 90% of Americans nationwide have broadband access.

What’s the cost?

A recent Deloitte study estimates that the U.S. requires $130–$150 billion of investment over the next five to seven years to adequately support broadband competition, rural coverage, and wireless densification. Fiber infrastructure investment can enable the U.S. digital economy similar to how national highway investments did for the traditional economy in the 1950s (more than $200 billion in today’s dollars). Private investment can be the primary source of funds for deep fiber, including communications service providers, financial investors, and public-private partnerships.

Federal, state, and local governments have policy and regulatory levers that can hasten investment, including reduction of regulatory challenges, legacy technology retirement, and reforms to the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC), so that it more efficiently coordinates and encourages deep fiber programs.

This entry was posted in Rural, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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