Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, has rejected the administration’s idea of nationalizing the 5G network in America.
This comes as a serious blow to the Trump team’s plan as any move to nationalize the network would require FCC approval.
The plan was formulated after a National Security Council official gave the administration information that suggested that they establish a centralized 5G network to protect themselves from the threat of Chinese Cyberattacks and other threats.
This appears to be the latest in a series of policies that represent the hard-line stance that the United States has taken with China. Trump had called China a “rival power” that wants to “challenge American influence, values and money” in a speech regarding his national security strategy in December.
Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, stated that “we discussed the need for a secure network,” and that “Right now we are at the very earliest stages of the conversation. There are absolutely no decisions made on what that would look like, what role anyone would play in it, simply the need for a secure network” in regard to the 5G network proposal in a press briefing on Monday.
The move to establish a government-controlled network would be the first of its kind as the industry has traditionally been free of state control. Work on 5G in America is already well on its way with Verizon and AT&T taking the lead announcing plans to start 5G coverage in the present year. The industry has already spent billions on developing 5G networks which many presume will be 100 times faster than 4G networks. The practical applications can revolutionize multiple sectors such as healthcare and the automobile industry.
Many have spoken against the proposal with the FCC chairman Ajit Pai stating,” 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” and that ,”the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment.”
A response from CTIA,the trade group that represents AT&T Inc(T.N.),Verizon Communications Inc(VZ.N),Apple Inc(AAPL.O) and others, was also found in a statement that said,” government should pursue the free market policies that enabled the U.S. wireless industry to win the race to 4G.”
A leaked memo from the National Security Council published by Axiom news on their website suggested this to be great public works project by drawing an analogy between the plan and the Eisenhower National Highway System.
Any move to nationalize the 5G network would be extremely expensive and would be a great divergence from the free market policy the United States has traditionally adopted.
All FCC commissioners have also rejected the proposal while one questioned the idea by stating,
” There is a worldwide race to lead in 5G and other nations are poised to win. But the remedy proposed here really misses the mark.”