Sci-tech

Trump considers nationalising 5G network

Trump considers nationalising 5G network

Currently, U.S. -based wireless carriers are each planning to launch their own 5G networks by 2020. The report stemmed from a National Security Council memo and PowerPoint slides.

Sunday evening, Axios reported it had obtained a PowerPoint presentation "produced by a senior National Security Council official" detailing how the USA needs to build its own 5G wireless networks to guard against China becoming a dominant player in wireless infrastructure and AI. The source said the internal White House debate will be over whether the U.S. government owns and builds the network or whether the carriers bind together in a consortium to build the network, an idea that would require them to put aside their business models to serve the country's greater good.

Therefore, the memo states, the United States must build a nationwide 5G network within three years to counteract economic and cybersecurity threats from China. As Reuters notes, it could take six to eight months before the proposal even crosses President Trump's desk and far longer for it to be officially implemented. According to a report, the team sees it as a modern reincarnation of Eisenhower's National Highway System in a bid to create a "new paradigm" for the wireless industry by the end of Trump's term. Yes, the U.S. government is considering going all socialist and nationalising the emerging 5G industry.

However wireless providers have already bought much of the spectrum in preparation for a 5G network and it is not clear whether there is enough left for the USA government to use. One source told Axios that the draft in question is an "old" one and a newer version is neutral about whether the government should build and own it.

The top U.S. communications regulator on Monday said he opposed an idea by some security officials to counter the threat of China spying on USA phone calls by having the government build and run a national, super-fast 5G wireless network.

Supposing they are, there is still the question of why the White House would consider them in the first place. They did confirm that their reasoning for a government-owned 5G network was to stop China's threat to United States cyber and economic security. Additionally, the slides name China as "the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain".

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Private companies like Verizon and AT&T have always built and operated wireless infrastructure in the past.

Citing documents the report says, "The best way to do this, is for the government to build a network itself".

And how exactly would nationalizing this infrastructure make it more secure?

The memo was leaked on January 29 and initially reported by Axios. With the new technological advancements taking place across the US telecom sector, the government's decision to create a 5G network will serve its goal of countering the threat against cybersecurity.

Although 5G network nationalization is still a concept, there's already a rough action plan. The first 5G spec was just approved last month, so the world's mobile carriers are making some progress. They also reportedly said that a staffer had simply made this suggestion and that the policy of a centralized 5G network is not imminent and probably won't ever be.