The White House is considering plans to develop a nationalized 5G wireless internet network for the United States, according to a report by Axios, but the Federal Communications Commission is having none of it. After word got out of the reported plans, key voices in the federal agency spoke out against the idea, saying that any future 5G network should be left in the hands of the private sector, as the current 4G and previous wireless platforms have been.
“I’ve seen lead balloons tried in D.C. before but this is like a balloon made out of a Ford Pinto,” FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said in a statement, referring to the 1970s vehicle that was recalled due its propensity for catching fire. O’Rielly said that the reported plans are “nonsensical and do not recognize the current marketplace.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai also expressed his displeasure with the idea.
“I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network,” Pai said. “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.”
Pai went on to say that while the government should set rules that encourage private businesses to work on a 5G network, “Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future.”
According to Axios, the White House is in favor of a nationalized 5G network in order to ensure security measures to protect the country from Chinese cyberattacks, and to make sure emerging tech like self-driving cars remain secure.
In the meantime, companies included AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are already working on 5G networks.
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