U.S. Bid to Build 5G Network Opposed by FCC Head and Wireless Lobby

U.S. Bid to Build 5G Network Opposed by FCC Head and Wireless Lobby

Foto: Fotolia

U.S. regulators and the wireless industry are pushing back against a plan under discussion by the Trump administration to build a secure 5G network, possibly with government control, amid concerns about China and cybersecurity, according to Bloomberg.

The Republican head of the FCC o issued a statement in opposition to any government control, suggesting that the wireless industry is best positioned “to drive innovation and investment.” "I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network,” said Ajit Pai. “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 wireless industry also appeared to throw cold water on the plan with a leading trade group whose members include  AT&T and  Verizon saying it sees a competitive marketplace as the best option for ensuring the U.S. leads in 5G technology. The statements were in response to reports that the Trump administration is in preliminary talks with U.S. and European companies about pushing 5G technology possibly with federal funds. The government aims to decide on a plan by the end of September and build it out over the next few years, said one of the officials.

If the U.S. opts for one secure network rather than multiple systems, the main unresolved questions would be what portion of the project would be taxpayer funded, and whether it would be owned by the government, a private consortium or some combination of public and private entities, one of the officials said. If the federal government directly participates in building a wireless network intended for commercial use, it’d be a departure from the decades-long tradition of auctioning licenses to telecommunications companies to build their own networks.

U.S. lawmakers have sounded alarms about the growing power of Huawei, the Chinese network equipment maker that’s expanded its market share around the globe, with its products operating networks in Europe and Latin America. A government-backed plan to accelerate the development of 5G in the U.S. would require support from Huawei’s top rivals, such as Nokia and Ericsson.

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