A reported White House proposal to nationalize a 5G network currently being developed by the private sector drew opposition Monday from telecom regulators (including all five FCC commissioners) and industry groups.
NEW YORK (AP) — Telecommunications regulators and industry groups voiced opposition Monday to a government-built wireless network that the Trump administration is reportedly considering .
The news website Axios reported Sunday that national security officials may want a government-built next-generation “5G” mobile network because of concerns about China and cybersecurity. A White House spokesman referred inquiries to the National Security Council, which did not immediately respond to questions.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, said in a statement Monday that the federal government should not build and operate a nationwide 5G network. The agency’s four other voting commissioners, both Democrats and Republicans, also criticized and expressed skepticism about such a proposal. The FCC regulates the nation’s airwaves and auctions them off to phone, cable and broadcasting companies for use in networks.
Pai released a statement that said: “I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. The main lesson to draw from the wireless sector’s development over the past three decades — including American leadership in 4G — is that the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment. What government can and should do is to push spectrum into the commercial marketplace and set rules that encourage the private sector to develop and deploy next-generation infrastructure. Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future.”
The industry group USTelecom panned the idea as well.
“There is nothing that would slam the breaks more quickly on our hard-won momentum to be the leader in the global race for 5G network deployment more quickly than the federal government stepping in to build those networks,” said its president, Jonathan Spalter, in an emailed statement.
The wireless trade group CTIA said the government should stick to “free market policies.”