The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to spend $15.9 billion on spectrum equipment as part of its $2.4 trillion investment in internet and TV infrastructure.
The purchase of $500 million worth of spectrum in 2018 will be completed by 2021, the FCC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government has pledged to spend at least $1.5 trillion in the US to upgrade and modernise the country’s broadband infrastructure.
A spokesperson for the FCC, Brian Roberts, told Reuters the purchase of the spectrum was “expected to be completed in 2019” and would be used to build the next generation of broadband.
The acquisition is expected to bring “significant investment to the US economy”, Roberts said.
It comes after years of uncertainty about the future of the nation’s broadband networks, which were originally intended to be used for wireless broadband.
The FCC purchased a small chunk of spectrum for $1 billion from Verizon in the middle of 2017 to provide broadband to homes and businesses.
Verizon had previously proposed buying an additional 100MHz of spectrum from AT&T for $5 billion in 2018, but the FCC’s top lawyer said the deal had to be done quickly and without any political interference.
“In the case of the auction, the only thing that was different was the spectrum that was being bought,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told a press conference on Tuesday, adding the spectrum had not yet been fully deployed.
Pai added the FCC would look at whether the technology that was purchased could be used by the Federal Communications Authority (FCA) to help fund the cost of the FCC-owned infrastructure, which would be in the billions of dollars.
“It’s important to note that these investments are expected to be complete by 2021,” Pai said.
“We have made great strides and the investments that we’ve made will help the American economy and its ability to create jobs,” Pai added.