It will be the most phenomenal, strongest, best network ever built. A new memo published by Axios reveals the Trump administration in considering nationalizing build out of a U.S. 5G network to catch up with China. If you’re very quiet, somewhere in the distance you can hear a carrier CEO banging his head against a wall.
Will 5G network build out be added to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s portfolio to manage along with Middle East peace, the opioid crisis and the complete overhaul of the federal government? Only time will tell. But national security officials are worried about China’s dominant position in A.I., 5G and other technologies that are likely to dominate the future.
This idea for the feds to step in and take over 5G, unsurprisingly, is opposed by FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai.
I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. The market, not the government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment. https://t.co/viIDB4mb0f pic.twitter.com/hgxRLtwoU4
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) January 29, 2018
Pai takes a classic Republican “free market” view. Private sector competition, not government bureaucracy is the way to get big things done fast, he argues along with decades of GOP gospel.
But Trump isn’t a true free marketeer. He’s an “America First” guy and the looming threat of China overtaking the United States in innovation is real, and according to the memo from national security officials, starts with getting 5G done.
Trump campaigned on a message of infrastructure investment, and this memo argues 5G should be viewed as “the 21st century equivalent of the Eisenhower National Highway System.”
The memo along with an accompanying PowerPoint deck was produced by a senior National Security Council official, according to Axios, and says the U.S needs a centralized 5G network in three years. It proposes the government build the network itself and then in turn rent out capacity to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
But what about the money these carriers have already sunk into developing their own 5G networks? Will the Trump administration just call the Net Neutrality ruling and massive tax cuts repayment for the R&D and call it even? And how would scrapping current efforts to roll out 5G by private companies speed up widespread deployment?
The pressure is mounting for carriers to get 5G done. Because if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that getting Jared involved isn’t going to speed up the process.
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