US President Donald Trump has declared that the United States must win the race to provide 5G networks, and that American companies must lead the world in cellular technology.
Addressing a White House event on 5G deployment attended by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Trump said that people were there to discuss a critical issue for America’s future: winning the race to be the world’s leading provider of 5G cellular communications networks. “Right now, we want to be the leader in this. We’re the leader in almost everything else,” he suggested.
“Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century,” he asserted. “5G will be as much as 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular networks. It will transform the way our citizens work, learn, communicate, and travel. It will make American farms more productive, American manufacturing more competitive, and American healthcare better and more accessible.”
“We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future. We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen. The race to 5G is a race America must win, and it’s a race, frankly, that our great companies are now involved in. We’ve given them the incentive they need. It’s a race that we will win,” he declared.
“In the United States, our approach is private-sector driven and private-sector led. The government doesn’t have to spend lots of money. According to some estimates, the wireless industry plans to invest $275 billion in 5G networks, creating 3 million American jobs quickly — very quickly — and adding $500 billion to our economy,” he advised.
“To accelerate and incentivize these investments, my administration is focused on freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed — we’re going to free it up so they’ll be able to get out there and get it done — and removing regulatory barriers to the buildout of networks,” he said, suggesting that the FCC was taking “very bold” action to make wireless spectrum available. “By next year, the United States is on pace to have more 5G spectrum than any other country in the world.”
“By the end of this year, the United States will have 92 5G deployments in markets nationwide. The next nearest country, South Korea, will have 48. So we have 92, compared to 48. And we’re going to accelerate that pace greatly,” he affirmed.
“But we must not rest; the race is far from over. American companies must lead the world in cellular technology. 5G networks must be secure. They must be strong. They have to be guarded from the enemy — we do have enemies out there — and they will be. They must cover every community, and they must be deployed as soon as possible.”
Pai agreed with the President’s assertion that America must win the race to 5G for two key reasons: “The first is national competitiveness. We want the good-paying jobs that develop and deploy 5G technologies — jobs that support some of the folks in this room — to be created here, in America. We want these technologies to give our economy a leg up as we compete against the rest of the world,” he said.
“The second reason US leadership matters is that 5G will improve Americans’ lives in so many ways, from precision agriculture, to smart transportation networks, to telemedicine, and more. We want Americans to be the first to benefit from this new digital revolution while protecting our innovators and our citizens. And as you pointed out, Mr. President, we don’t want rural Americans to be left behind.”
According to Pai, America is now well positioned to win the race to fast, secure, and reliable 5G. “And don’t just take my word for it. In February, ABI Research stated, and I quote: ‘It is the United States who will win the 5G race in the short term’. That same month, Cisco projected that, in three years, 5G would be more than twice as prevalent in North America as in Asia. Last week, CTIA reported that America leads the world with the most commercial 5G deployments of any nation. And just this past Tuesday, it was reported that 5G-related job listings here in the United States increased 12 per cent in just the past three weeks according to data from an online job search service.”
“Today, 5G is a success story — an American success story. Well, how are we getting the job done? As the lead agency on 5G, the FCC is pursuing a three-part strategy called the 5G FAST Plan. First, we’re freeing up spectrum, the invisible airwaves that carry wireless traffic. We finished our first 5G spectrum auction in January, and we’re holding a second, right now, that has already generated almost $2 billion in bids,” he advised.
“Second, we’re making it easier to install wireless infrastructure. 5G will rely heavily on a web of small antennas. But when I came into office, regulations designed for tall towers threatened to strangle our 5G future in red tape. We have eliminated these rules, because infrastructure the size of a pizza box shouldn’t have to jump through the same regulatory hoops as a 200-foot cell tower.”
“And third, we’ve taken action to encourage the deployment of optical fibre. That is because 5G isn’t just about wireless. We’ll also need strong fibre networks to carry 5G traffic once it goes from the air to the ground. And we’ve done a lot to make that happen, including ending heavy-handed regulations imposed by the prior administration. And here, too, we are getting results. Last year, fibre was deployed to more new locations in the United States than in any year before. But in the race to 5G, our early success is still early. We still need to do more, and we will,” he affirmed.
Accordingly, Pai announced two new steps the FCC was taking take to build on its momentum. “First, the FCC intends to start its third 5G spectrum auction on December 10th of this year. This will be the largest spectrum auction in American history. We will be selling 3,400 megahertz in three different bands. And for those of you who aren’t wireless experts, that is a lot of spectrum.”
“Second, to help build the infrastructure of the future, the FCC aims to create a $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund headed by the agency. This money will extend high-speed broadband to up to 4 million homes and small businesses in rural America. These next-generation networks will bring greater economic opportunity to America’s heartland, including some of the great jobs building infrastructure, and they will help support future 5G technologies,” he suggested.
In closing, Pai thanked the President for his leadership on 5G. “Your White House has advanced your vision in many ways, from international treaty negotiations to much-needed regulatory reforms. I appreciate all these efforts, and in the same spirit, this FCC will help build a great and lasting legacy of American success on 5G,” he concluded.