The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted this week to revise the rules for the Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). The decision received mixed reviews among advocates for rural broadband. Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps blasted the rule in a tweet where he accused the Commission of granting a “handout to bloated wireless carriers at [the] expense of rural and unserved Americans.”
CBRS was a popular source of spectrum for small rural carriers for many years but the FCC’s decision will invite new competition from nationwide carriers. CBRS spectrum is highly sought after by carriers building 5G nationwide networks. The FCC’s order frees up new spectrum for 5G nationwide networks at the expense of small carriers that continue to struggle to deliver 4G connectivity to rural customers.