Trump administration mulls a nationalized 5G network

30 January, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Larry Hoffman
  • Chairman Ajit Pai leads a vote on the repeal of so called net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington

In the first option, the USA government would pay for and build a single network, which in fact would mean the nationalisation of a historically private infrastructure.

The 5G nationalization proposal calls for the network to be constructed within three years using spectrum that would be dedicated to the network, with capacity leased to wireless carriers, Axios said.

That 5G plan would see the federal government take over such infrastructure roll-out over the next few years from United States mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon Communications and T-Mobile. If this isn't just the work of one overcaffeinated NSA analyst with a pipe dream, it would be this administration's most radical information policy step, by far. Major U.S. carriers use only the first two of those three companies as the result of recommendations made several years ago when a key government agency expressed concerns about the possibility that the Chinese government might be able to spy on the U.S. through Huawei telecom equipment.

The second options states they can get the help from wireless providers to build their own 5G networks. Why would any sensible American trust them to protect the security of a national network?

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But let's make it clear: the proposal doesn't discuss increasing ISP competition anywhere. The network would be built by "former or reserve military personnel" and other workers who would be federally trained by a "National Training Program".

China early this month warned that American protectionism was on the rise after congressional documents showed that Chinese tech giant Huawei's designs on the USA market were causing national security concerns in Washington.

Shares of the biggest US wireless carriers fell at the start of trade on Monday, with Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc down 1.4 percent.

The US government is in talks with private telecom players to build a secure 5G network.

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But any plan would likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars, require the government to obtain spectrum and raises questions whether Americans would want to buy service from a government entity, wireless carriers said.

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee likened it to life in Venezuela. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), China's two biggest makers of telecom networks, as a potential security risk, and warning major United States operators not to use those companies as infrastructure suppliers. He noted that government data has been hacked, but said it was important 5G networks are "safe and secure". Various trade groups have insisted the US should stick to free-market policies, and the entire FCC-deeply split on the matter of net neutrality protections-has also come out unanimously in opposition to any such plan.

A senior administration officials confirmed the gist of the report to Reuters, saying the issue is now being debated at low levels and is six to eight months away from being presented to Trump.

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