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Maps Aren’t Enough: TPI’s Sarah Oh Argues for a 5G Research Fund

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WASHINGTON (July 1, 2020) – Technology Policy Institute Senior Fellow Sarah Oh argues in comments to the FCC that the 5G Fund for Rural America should include a research fund consisting of one percent of the total subsidies being distributed. The FCC asked whether it should choose option A, deploying funds in 2021, or option B, deploying funds after data has been collected and released 2023. A research fund makes a middle ground possible. Under Oh’s option “A/B” (so-called as a nod to A/B testing), the research fund would make it possible to begin distributing funds in 2021 while simultaneously studying how new data should feed into funding decisions as new datasets are built.
Oh points out that maps and data by themselves do not help better allocate funding. Instead, analysis enabled by the data improves decision making. But these analyses take time and resources, and current funding is extremely limited.
As data sources expand and become more complicated, as will happen under the Broadband DATA Act, the more time and other resources will be required to make good use of them. Allocating funding now to begin the process of integrating new data into decision-making when it becomes available will help to better allocate the rest of the USF funding and lead to more effective outcomes.
Read her comments here.
Contact: Lindsay Poss, lposs@techpolicyinstitute.org
The Technology Policy Institute
The Technology Policy Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at http://www.techpolicyinstitute.org/.