WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, supports Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to provide up to $9 billion to deploy advanced 5G mobile wireless services in rural America and set aside $1 billion for precision agriculture needs.
“The FCC’s new 5G Fund would be an important investment to deliver next-generation wireless technology to rural areas. I am particularly encouraged that the new fund would expand the availability of precision agriculture,” Wicker said. “I am glad to see that Chairman Pai has made this a priority and intends to dedicate additional resources to reach underserved areas more effectively.”
The 5G Fund would replace the planned Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) reverse auction, which would have provided support for mobile broadband service in underserved areas. Senator Wicker raised concerns about that program, noting that inaccurate broadband maps could have misallocated funding instead of targeting the rural areas most in need of broadband.
Wicker is also a champion of precision agriculture. In 2018, he introduced the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act to identify gaps in broadband connectivity for the nation’s cropland and ranchland. The law, which was enacted as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, requires the FCC to encourage broadband adoption and precision agriculture in areas where it is currently unavailable.
The committee exercises jurisdiction over the FCC.