Trump team weighs plan to nationalize high-speed networks
01:27, Jan 30, 2018
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In the documents, seen by Axios, a senior National Security Council official says that a centralized, government-controlled 5G network is needed to offer security against China. The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China's threat to USA cyber security and economic security, Reuters reported on Sunday. The documents call for the creation of the nationwide network within three years, despite the ongoing development of a privately-held network now under construction by companies such as like Samsung, Intel, Nokia, and Huawei.
Other analysts see irony in the Trump administration's plan for a nationalised 5G network, which they expect to create more problems for the United States telecommunications industry if it pushes through.
The second options states they can get the help from wireless providers to build their own 5G networks.
The first (and quickest) way for the plan to be adopted in the USA would be to have the government pay for and build a network itself.
The official confirmed a recent report that suggested the option was now being debated by the administration though it could be six to eight months before the president decides to implement it. It would then rent access to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that he opposed any federal proposal to run a national 5G network, instead recommending that government support the ongoing industry projects.
With smartphones being a large portion of consumer electronics that will eventually feature 5G modems, other applications like self-driving vehicles and IoT products are also expected to take advantage of this breakthrough.
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While it's tempting to dive into the technical weeds about this proposal, the startling thing is how dramatic a change federal ownership of the 5G network would be.
Edison Lee, an equity analyst at Jefferies, said that plan "will only spark new debate in the U.S., which would give China even more advantage in its goal to become a leader in 5G". A federally owned network would turn the entire "net neutrality" debate on its head, for instance, as lawyers debate what a public network's First Amendment responsibilities would be to service providers and content providers alike.
Responding to the report about the memo AT&T said that private sector work was well under way and testing has gone to field trials.
What do you think about 5G network nationalization in the United States? One of the slides reportedly describes the move as a digital version of China's One Belt, One Road Initiative, which includes the massive China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Either way, the scheme would disrupt existing business models to ensure the country ends up with a single 5G network under government control.
Whatever the case may be, a nationalized 5G network is now a part of the conversation, however unlikely it may be to come to pass.
The U.S. administration official speaking on anonymity said it will be at least six to eight months before a recommendation reaches the president's desk. As Axios notes, the wireless industry is already deploying 5G networks to customers. Recently, the U.S. government helped squash a deal between Huawei and AT&T that would have seen the carrier offer one of the Chinese tech company's phones.
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