Industry Sponsored Study: “Truly National 5G” in U.S. Will Require Estimated $36B and 37,000 Cell Sites

By B.N. Frank

American aviation experts have been warning for years that 5G frequencies could cause catastrophic interference issues with aviation instruments (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Nevertheless, proponents (including the Federal Communications Commission) continued to ignore them until last week when AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay additional 5G deployment until January.  The aviation industry, however, says it needs more time than that.  Of course, American opposition to 5G includes A LOT MORE than aviation safety risks.  Reports have also shown that 4G service is still better and safer than 5G (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  Nevertheless, proponents continue to promote 5G deployment, and the Infrastructure Bill was written so that it is largely funded by federal dollars (see 1, 2, 3).

From RCR Wireless:


Truly national 5G? It’ll take an extra $36 billion and another 37k sites, CCA report estimates

By Kelly Hill

A new estimate from CCA and CostQuest pegs the cost of deploying 5G in places that carriers are unlikely to build out commercially

What would it take to cover the entire geographic United States with 5G, beyond the commercial coverage that is already planned?

About $36 billion and another 37,000 sites, according to a new estimate on 5G ubiquity commissioned by the Competitive Carriers Association.

While the three largest mobile network operators are already claiming “nationwide” 5G coverage based on population coverage, it’s an entirely different distinction to cover all of the geographic areas of the United States. A new study commissioned by CCA estimates that it will take an additional $36 billion in government and private investment in order to ensure ubiquitous 5G coverage in areas that mobile network operators are unlikely to build out without subsidies.

CostQuest Associates developed the national network cost model in the study. In a CCA press briefing on Friday, President and CEO of CostQuest Jim Stegeman noted that the company has developed a number of national network cost models that have been used by the Federal Communications Commission in the past on both a wired and wireless basis, including to inform the Connect America Fund and determining the reserve price for the Rural Digital Opportunities Fund; the company has also over the years developed models estimating the costs of ubiquitous 3G, 4G and 5G coverage.

CCA commissioned the update to CostQuest’s 5G ubiquity study “to help determine a realistic budget to meet the aspirations of the 5G Fund” and offer up a cost model based on real-world data to “truly bring ubiquitous 5G coverage to rural America — to all of America,” according to CCA President and CEO Steve Berry.

Berry noted that the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (which is expected to be signed into law today) will make historic investments in fixed broadband access to help close the digital divide.

“But closing the digital divide is not complete without access to mobile connectivity,” Berry continued, adding, “The reality is that nationwide 5G availability is not inevitable for all Americans, particularly those in rural America.”

The Federal Communications Commission has already made rural 5G access a funding priority, setting aside $9 billion for a Rural 5G Fund last year and starting to shift Universal Service Fund support toward 5G deployment. However, that funding was put in place before new, more accurate broadband and wireless mapping efforts come to fruition, which Democrats on the FCC pointed out at the time.

The CostQuest study model “determines that the current budget for the 5G Fund is inadequate and additional support is needed to ensure all consumers – and not just those who will be covered by currently planned private investment – have access to ubiquitous 5G. The FCC should use existing funding budgeted for High Cost support to set a 5G Fund budget sufficient to accomplish this critical priority,” Berry said.

The CostQuest model looks at unserved areas, based on the latest LTE coverage maps from the FCC combined with information on roads and areas across the country. It estimates that about 37,000 new coverage sites will be needed to get 5G to all but a few, very remote areas of the United States — and most of those will be new towers, at a cost of approximately $1 million per site, Stegeman explained in the briefing.

“Based on engineering principles, real-world costs, and the most recent 4G LTE coverage data submitted by the four largest carriers, [CostQuest] has determined that the additional cost to ensure access to ubiquitous 5G for all Americans – and not just those who will be covered by currently planned private investment – is $36 billion,” the report concludes.

The report and the cost model methodology can be read here.

The CostQuest study model “determines that the current budget for the 5G Fund is inadequate and additional support is needed to ensure all consumers – and not just those who will be covered by currently planned private investment – have access to ubiquitous 5G. The FCC should use existing funding budgeted for High Cost support to set a 5G Fund budget sufficient to accomplish this critical priority,” Berry said.

For the first time, the release of the CostQuest National 5G model provides rigorous, real-world analysis demonstrating the total investment of private capital and government resources needed to achieve ubiquitous 5G coverage where carriers are unlikely to deploy absent support: $36 billion. There is no doubt that we are at a key moment in our country to support broadband deployment.

Even as policymakers focus on closing the digital divide, providing connectivity only through fixed services risks creating a new divide – the 5G gap – in which the ubiquitous mobile services powered by 5G networks will drive economic growth in some parts of the nation but not in others.

While the promise of life with ubiquitous 5G raises exciting possibilities, the reality is that nationwide 5G availability is not inevitable, particularly in rural America. And while wireless carriers and infrastructure providers are investing billions of dollars to deploy 5G to the same regions and markets that always are first to benefit from new technologies, the lessons from previous generations of wireless services–from 1G cellular service to 4G LTE–teach us that without timely and properly targeted public support, we will fall short of the goal of nationwideavailability. And as too often happens, rural and other vulnerable communities will be the ones left behind.

Based on engineering principles, real-world costs, and the most recent 4G LTE coverage data submitted by the four largest carriers, CQA has determined that the additional cost to ensure access to ubiquitous 5G for all Americans – and not just those who will be covered by currently planned private investment – is $36 billion.


In addition to aviation safety risks, other considerable issues have been identified with 5G technology including

The FCC has catered to the telecom and cable industries for decades (see 1, 2, 3).  This has led to numerous lawsuits filed against the agency for NOT protecting the public from unsafe levels of cell phone and WiFi radiation, 5G on Earth (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and in space, and also for allowing telecom and cable companies to overcharge Americans.  A 2020 lawsuit against the FCC determined that Americans have already paid to have access to safer and more secure high speed internet access via fiber optics to the premises and copper landlines (see 1, 2).  In August 2021, a federal court ruled in favor of petitioners who sued the FCC for not protecting Americans from harmful radiation exposure (see 1, 2).  More recently, an alliance in New Mexico petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take a stance on shameful telecom legislation passed in 1996.

Nevertheless, taxpayer money continues to be given to telecom and cable companies to “bridge the digital divide” with less secure (see 1, 2) and biologically harmful 5G and WiFi (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Earlier this year, scientists submitted a letter to President Biden asking him to protect the public from 5G and other unsafe technology.  Instead he committed to adding more.  Americans opposed to any or all of this may sign and share the following online petitions 1, 2, 3.



Activist Post reports regularly about 5G and other unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives and the following websites.

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