Trump team considers a government-run 5G network

AT&T to Launch Mobile 5G in 2018 - AT&T Newsroom -

A plan by US President Donald Trump's national security team to build a government-owned 5G network, created to counter the threat of China spying on calls, is seen as reflecting the mistrust by Washington towards Chinese hi-tech capabilities.

The National Security Council (NSC) document also makes a debatable link between the necessity for a 5G network and the state of artificial intelligence in the U.S. and China.

The documents reviewed by Axios suggested that the USA must have a centralized 5G network spanning the country within the next three years. Telecom regulators and industry groups voiced opposition Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, to a government-built wireless network that the Trump administration is reportedly considering.

Another option includes having a 5G network built by a consortium of wireless carriers, said the United States official. On the other hand, having carriers build their own networks would avoid much of the commercial disruption involved in the first option.

An unnamed senior White House official said that the government wants to build a network so calls can not be listened to by the Chinese.

Wireless carriers AT&T Inc.

"I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network", FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said Monday.

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But a nationalized 5G network could be "both expensive and duplicative, particularly at a time when the Administration is proposing to slash critical federal investments in R&D and broadband support for unserved areas".

AT&T Senior Executive Randall Stephenson (R) explains to President Donald Trump how the 5G will be deployed in cities during the American Leadership in Emerging Technology Event in the East Room of the White House June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. And it would have to contract with the network equipment and telecommunications companies, which are already building and testing their own networks anyway. The document compares the push to President Dwight Eisenhower's interstate highway system, including using national security concerns to overrule state and local decisions on where to place network infrastructure.

A leading trade group, with members including AT&T and Verizon, pushed back on the plans saying it sees a competitive marketplace as the best option for ensuring United States leadership in 5G technology.

Trump recently began making good on his aggressive "America First" trade agenda, with China as a primary target by imposing steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.

'We have to have a secure network that doesn't allow bad actors to get in.

"We're not Venezuela. We don't need to have the government run everything", Walden said. The national network would be a way for the federal government to steer contracts to preferred providers and to nurture a network-equipment market that is free of Chinese influence.

The document claims that "the current algorithm battles are slowly drifting in China's favor as companies like Google build Al research centers inside China's information sphere and world class data scientists mine the data (ours and theirs) without restraint". According to the document, it will be decided if the government is going to be owning and building the network or if the service providers can come forth to build the network on their own.



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