The distribution of access to information technologies is already incredibly uneven along several lines, including income level, education, race, and location
. For those who live in more rural or low-income areas, access to the internet and/or mobile devices is harder to come by. 5G deployment would only exacerbate this disparity - cities and urban areas would continue to advance and develop, while rural communities fall farther and farther behind.
According to the FCC, 31% of rural residents do not have a fixed broadband service, as opposed to 2% of urban residents
. Billions of extra dollars would have to be spent in order to get these rural areas "caught up" with the rest of the country. Carriers, however, are much more likely to deploy 5G in high-income areas for a quicker return on their investment
5G utilizes higher frequency waves, as opposed to 4G and 3G, which use lower frequencies that are less easily scattered. Due to the limited range of high frequency waves, hundreds of thousands of smaller antennas and towers would need to be installed
. For low-income areas, this may not be affordable.
Additionally, it is physically difficult to make 5G work in more remote areas; the network would require hundreds of miles' worth of fiber-optic cables placed underground. This is why it is already a challenge for rural Americans to get mobile LTE broadband, let alone 5G