Big tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, are being funded by the Federal Communications Commission’s NextGen program to help them expand their digital reach, a move that could help them compete in a global marketplace.
The FCC is giving the companies $5 billion in NextGen grants to develop technologies that could streamline the transmission of information.
FCC spokeswoman Sarah Henningsen said the agency is “deeply committed to enabling innovation and the deployment of advanced communications technologies to serve the nation’s diverse needs.”
The funding for NextGen will be awarded to companies that will build, deploy and manage their own networks, as well as those that have the capacity to handle digital content from the big four U.S. companies, she said.
The FCC program was created in 2013 by former President Barack Obama to help small businesses compete with big telecoms and broadband providers.
NextGen, or NextGen 2, has been awarded to 21 companies and four organizations, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., and a non-profit organization called NextGen Institute, which provides funding for research and development of new technologies for the NextGen initiative.
The program has received $7.7 billion since its inception, according to the FCC.
The commission is not making a decision on whether to award NextGen to the companies or whether to allocate any additional funding, which is a decision that could come before the end of this year.