Today's Regulatory Mix: USDA Rural Broadband Grants in Tennessee, DOD Announces $600 Million for 5G Experimentation and Testing at Five Installations, Virginia Allocates $30 Million in CARES Act Funding to Fast-Track Broadband Projects
DOD Announces $600 Million for 5G Experimentation and Testing at Five Installations
The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced $600 million in awards for 5G experimentation and testing at five U.S. military test sites, representing the largest full-scale 5G tests for dual-use applications in the world. Each installation will partner military Services, industry leaders, and academic experts to advance the Department’s 5G capabilities. Projects will include piloting 5G-enabled augmented/virtual reality for mission planning and training, testing 5G-enabled Smart Warehouses, and evaluating 5G technologies to enhance distributed command and control.
“The Department of Defense is at the forefront of cutting edge 5G testing and experimentation, which will strengthen our Nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness in this critical field. Through these test sites, the Department is leveraging its unique authorities to pursue bold innovation at a scale and scope unmatched anywhere else in the world. Importantly, today’s announcement demonstrates the Department’s commitment to exploring the vast potential applications and dual-use opportunities that can be built upon next-generation networks,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
USDA Rural Broadband Grants In Tennessee
The USDA announced a grant of nearly $17 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Tennessee. Specifically:
- Volunteer Energy Cooperative will use a $3.7 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,687 people, 79 farms and nine businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Meigs County, Tennessee.
- Ben Lomand Holdings Inc. will use a $1.9 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 152 people, 33 farms and one business to high-speed broadband internet in Cumberland County, Tennessee.
- Highland Communications LLC will use a $6.4 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,908 people, 73 farms, 25 businesses, eight educational facilities and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Campbell County, Tennessee.
- DeKalb Telephone Cooperative Inc. will use a $2.2 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,053 people, 65 farms and 17 businesses to high-speed internet in Smith, Trousdale and Wilson counties in Tennessee.
- West Tennessee Telephone Company Inc. will use a $2.7 million ReConnect Grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,940 people, 40 farms, five businesses and a fire station to high-speed internet in Carroll County, Tennessee.
Virginia Allocates $30 Million in CARES Act Funding to Fast-Track Broadband Projects
The Governor of Virginia has announced the allocation of $30 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to improve broadband access in underserved localities.
Localities must apply for the funding, and eligible projects are those able to be completed within the time constraints on spending federal dollars, which means more Virginians could get connected to high-speed, broadband internet by the end of the year.
“Broadband is to today’s economy like electricity was generations ago—when you have it, you can get ahead,” said Governor Northam. “High-speed internet is essential for students to connect to education, business to connect to the wider world, and citizens to connect to work. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more clear, as so much of our lives have moved to virtual platforms. Since day one of our administration, we have made it a priority to increase access to broadband, and I am pleased that we can help more Virginians make those connections now, when they are needed most.”
The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia estimates that 200,000 K-12 students and 60,000 college students in Virginia lack access to broadband at home. Universal broadband access has been a priority for the Northam administration, which has worked to support broadband infrastructure projects capable of connecting more than 108,000 homes and businesses. Governor Northam’s current budget proposals include $85 million in investments for broadband infrastructure.
“Any part of Virginia without broadband risks being left behind in our increasingly digital world,” said Senator Jennifer Boysko, Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. “This initiative will speed up the work of connecting every corner of Virginia, so that everyone has access to opportunity.”
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The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.