Plan for U.S.-built ‘5G’ net­work panned by reg­u­la­tors, in­dus­try

Cy­ber­se­cu­rity fears drive pro­posal for next-gen wire­less.

Austin American-Statesman - - BALANCED VIEWS -

Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions reg­u­la­tors and in­dus­try groups voiced op­po­si­tion Mon­day to a gov­ern­ment-built wire­less net­work that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­port­edly con­sid­er­ing.

The news website Ax­ios re­ported Sun­day that na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cials may want a gov­ern­ment-built next-gen­er­a­tion “5G” mo­bile net­work be­cause of con­cerns about China and cy­ber­se­cu­rity. A White House spokesman re­ferred in­quiries to the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to ques­tions.

The tele­com in­dus­try, which is pow­er­ful in Wash­ing­ton, is al­ready work­ing on 5G, which her­alds bet­ter in­ter­net on smart­phones as well as po­ten­tial ap­pli­ca­tions for self-driv­ing cars and other new tech­nol­ogy. The new stan­dard is al­ready be­ing tested and could be widely avail­able by 2020. AT&T has said that it ex­pects to launch a mo­bile 5G ser­vice in 12 U.S. lo­ca­tions later this year.

Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion Chair­man Ajit Pai, a Repub­li­can, said in a state­ment Mon­day that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should not build and op­er­ate a na­tion­wide 5G net­work. The FCC reg­u­lates the na­tion’s airwaves and auc­tions them off to phone, ca­ble and broad­cast­ing com­pa­nies for use in net­works.

The in­dus­try group UST­ele­com panned the idea as well. “There is noth­ing that would slam the brakes more quickly on our hard-won mo­men­tum to be the leader in the global race for 5G net­work de­ploy­ment more quickly than the fed­eral gov­ern­ment step­ping in to build those net­works,” said its pres­i­dent, Jonathan Spal­ter, in an emailed state­ment.

Pai

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