Responding to the FCC 20-52

June, 2020

Issue: The FCC is proposing to spend $9 billion dollars of taxpayer money to close the "rural divide" by giving it to the telecoms so they can expand their 5G networks. 

Synopsis of 20-52 - The FCC proposes to distribute up to $9 billion for 5G wireless broadband connectivity.  The 5G Fund would help ensure that rural Americans enjoy the same benefits as their urban counterparts—more than 200 million of whom already have access to major providers’ 5G networks.

Our Analysis:


Every American deserves access to fast, reliable, secure, private and inexpensive broadband internet. But this proposal is a waste of taxpayer money, a government handout to rich and powerful telecoms, and a betrayal of millions of consumers who have already paid for fiber optic connections. 
 

1.  4G/5G antennas need to be connected to a fiber optic cable to function. Those cables connect the antennas to the internet.  But those same fiber optic cables could simply be connected directly to homes and businesses in rural areas, giving those folks fast, reliable, secure, private and inexpensive broadband access, without the security, privacy and health risks associated with wireless networks.  

 

2. For decades, rural telephone customers have been paying rate increases, taxes and extra fees on their phone bills to finance the construction of a national fiber optic network that would connect every phone customer in the country. The telecoms got billions of dollars, but instead of connecting everyone, they spent the money developing wireless.  

 

3. Giving billions to the telecoms to build out their 5G network is the equivalent of using taxpayer money to build a super highway to a private remote resort. The telecoms collected over $360 billion in 2018. Once their fiber  installed, telecoms will be able to charge consumers whatever they want (wireless service is unregulated) and rural customers will have no choice but to pay.

Sample Comment: I strongly object to the 5G Fund for Rural America (Docket No. 20-32) and any other efforts to provide additional funding to the telecom industry for the buildout of their 5G wireless networks.

For decades, consumers have been paying miscellaneous service fees and rate increases on landline phone bills that the telecom companies were supposed to use to build out a national fiber-optic network. Instead, the telecoms utilized "creative accounting" tactics to divert monies intended for fiber-optic build outs to fund their wireless business instead.

Rural customers are entitled to the fast, safe, secure, private and low-cost internet they were promised. Instead of rewarding the telecoms with more taxpayer dollars, the FCC should be holding these companies to their promise. 

America's telecoms have plenty of money to build out the fiber optic network (which is required for 5G anyway) without further burdening the American public. And frankly, the FCC has no business helping those who have already helped themselves. 

Thank you for your consideration.
 
Sincerely, ___________

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