The Wireless Telecommunications and Wireless Competition Bureaus of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have announced plans for a reverse auction that will expand the availability of high speed mobile services to unserved and underserved areas of the U.S.
According to a Public Notice issued in February 2012, the Mobility Fund Phase 1 reverse auction will award $300 million to carriers who commit to provide 3G or better mobile voice and broadband services in areas where such services are currently unavailable. The Commission says that it has chosen a reverse auction mechanism to award these funds to ensure that the available funds maximize the coverage in such areas.
The funds offered under Mobility Fund Phase I are in addition to funds provided under existing universal service programs. A follow-on Mobility Fund, Phase II, is expected to provide up to $500 million annually for ongoing support of mobile services.
The Mobility Fund program is part of the Commission’s overall effort to modernize the nation’s universal service system to provide all citizens with access to fixed and mobile communication networks.