The U.S. needs to guard against internet inequity
For all the talk about the U.S. winning the race to 5G, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks is concerned that the country will race right by with no-G.
In a speech at Georgetown University, Starks, the newest member of the commission, said he wanted to lay down a market on one of the most important issues the country faces. That is getting broadband to the over 24 million without access to broadband at any speed.
Starks said he feared the transition to 5G was also a transition from a digital divide to an “internet inequality.”
“I am worried about a world where those with much get even more, and everyone else gets left behind,” he said.
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This is a real threat to rural communities. Telecommunications is an ROI driven business and the sparse density of rural counties cannot make the ROI hurdle without some government help. Some 5G technologies are not rural friendly, and will not be used. Others can only provide a marginal improvement over 4G, which many communities do not have, and will not have for years, as the Connect American II program has a 10-year build-out schedule. It is not likely that low band 5G will be replacing newly installed 4G in an ROI world.