FCC’s Pai opposes ‘nationalised’ 5G

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has spoken in opposition to reports that the Trump administration is considering a federal takeover of portions of the country’s mobile broadband networks.

A National Security Council official is reported to have presented senior members of the administration and other agencies with information suggesting that the United States needs to centralise its 5G network to safeguard against Chinese cybersecurity and economic threats. Mobile industry infrastructure has traditionally been privately controlled.

In a Statement on the future of 5G, Pai said: “I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. The main lesson to draw from the wireless sector’s development over the past three decades—including American leadership in 4G—is that the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment. What government can and should do is to push spectrum into the commercial marketplace and set rules that encourage the private sector to develop and deploy next-generation infrastructure. Any federal effort to construct a nationalised 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future.”

Subsequently, White House officials confirmed that the document was outdated and that the proposal was “merely floated” by an unnamed official at the National Security Council.

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