The government is planning to build its own 5G network, citing cybersecurity concerns and economic threats relating to China. According to a classified document, the current administration had been aware that China is winning the AI race and the only way to keep up is for the US to have its own 5G network. People familiar with the matter revealed that President Donald Trump is set to review the proposal in six to eight months.
Axios, which first broken the news, described the planned takeover as “unprecedented.” According to a classified memo on the issue, owning a 5G network is the only option to create a secure pathway for futuristic technologies like self-driving cars and virtual reality. Axios claimed that it has in its possession a powerpoint presentation were Trump officials cited China’s One Belt One Road as the country’s means to position itself as a global superpower. The administration, therefore, perceived that owning a 5G network is the most effective means to digitally counter China’s move. Officials were reportedly in contact with American, European, and Asian tech companies.
Senior officials, who had spoken with Reuters in condition of anonymity, hinted that the planned 5G network takeover is in place. “We want to build a network so the Chinese can’t listen to your calls,” the official told Reuters. “We have to have a secure network that doesn’t allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don’t take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business” the official explained, adding that the president is only six to eight months away from considering the proposal.
The government-controlled 5G network scheme, however, received lukewarm responses. For FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, it will be better if the government let the wireless industry develop the said 5G network. The Trump-appointed official opposed planned scheme altogether. “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, Pai said as quoted by Bloomberg. As the publication noted, major telecommunications company had been spending billions in developing 5G network with their eyes all set in 2020.
For CEO of CTIA, Meredith Attwell Baker, the best people that should be at the helm of the scheme remain to be the industry experts. “The wireless industry agrees that winning the race to 5G is a national priority. The government should pursue the free market policies that enabled the U.S. wireless industry to win the race to 4G,” he said as reported by BBC.