FCC Order Aims to Bolster Rural Broadband Access Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today granted temporary spectrum access to 33 wireless internet services providers serving 330 counties in 29 states, including Maryland, in order to serve rural communities facing increased broadband demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary order allows these providers to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for 60 days.

“Like everyone else, rural Americans are facing an increased need for broadband services as more workers, students, and families stay home during this national emergency,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “Fixed wireless broadband providers deliver this service for many communities, especially those hardest for other providers to reach.”

According to the FCC:

The Special Temporary Authorities granted today will help serve communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The list of individual companies and the counties they serve will be posted on FCC.gov.

For more information on the FCC’s actions related to the coronavirus pandemic, visit https://www.fcc.gov/coronavirus.

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For up-to-date information and state resources regarding coronavirus, including confirmed case counts and clinician guidance, visit http://health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.