President Donald Trump’s national security team had previously considered a nationwide initiative to deploy and operate a 5G wireless network in the US, according to Reuters.
The nationwide network would be used to guard against Chinese cybersecurity and economic threats. It also comes as China strives to land the leading position in the race to 5G infrastructure.
The proposal to nationalize 5G infrastructure is highly controversial:
- It would disrupt the historically privately-owned market. Government control of 5G infrastructure would require US wireless carriers to rent access to the network as opposed building out their own 5G network infrastructure. This would disrupt competition between carriers, and could be detrimental to innovation and investment in the 5G space. It’s expected that wireless operators will invest as much as $ 275 billion in the United States over seven years as they build out 5G, according to Accenture.
- It would accelerate deployment of 5G networks. It would be less costly and time consuming for the government to deploy a 5G network than US wireless carriers building their own, according to Axios. This is significant because 5G’s ability to transmit data roughly 10 times faster than 4G, the current standard, will revolutionize the connected world. The technology is expected to completely overhaul the tech industry due to its ability to connect and support a wide range of IoT-connected devices, enhance VR and AR experiences, and enable faster and more reliable mobile video.
However, any 5G plan proposed by the government would require approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Chairman Ajit Pai expressed his opposition in a statement, claiming it would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies needed to deploy 5G in the country.
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