[evdo] According to Electronista, at the FCC's monthly meeting, they've proposed a mobility fund that would create a single-instance fund between $100 to $300 million to be used to deploy 3G and 4G cellular wireless to areas that have been left out of the carriers' current footprints. The FCC wants to use an inverted auction method, giving contracts to those that bid the lowest and adding additional carriers until the money is used in a given area. Sprint and Verizon have already contributed to the Universal Service Fund, which would help get this project underway immediately.
The FCC sees this as a more viable solution than expanding land-line access, as land-line expansions only help select residents while wireless helps anybody visiting the area. 90% of the population is currently covered with 3G service from at least one of four major carriers, but about 4 million Americans are still stuck in 2G ONLY or no coverage areas (and folks who travel to those areas are obviously without coverage, too!). The FCC hopes to provide a solution that will bring high-speed wireless service to these individuals despite the lower ROI (return on investment).
The FCC Proposes A Fund To Spread 3G And 4G Coverage To Rural Areas