Economist doubts 5G is answer to rural broadband challenge

An economist at CoBank is skeptical about 5G wireless technology solving rural broadband challenges. Jeff Johnston with CoBank says 5G, seen as a much faster successor to 3G and 4G broadband, faces high costs, as well as technical and operational issues that will limit its roll-out in rural areas.

Verizon is the current leader of 5G fixed wireless. Johnston says the costs of getting the rights to the spectrum that carries 5G is likely to limit its profitability in rural areas. He says that could cause Verizon’s commitment to 5G to wane, leaving rural operators with fewer choices and higher costs.

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