One of most surprising pieces of recent telecommunications news involves the U.S. Government’s desire to build its own 5G network. The Trump administration’s focus is cybersecurity, especially against foreign hackers. Not surprisingly, a wide range of industry groups and the FCC are against the concept.


Photo copyright 3GPP.

News about the potential of a federal government 5G network appeared earlier this week in Bloomberg among other sources. Let’s look more closely at the story to see if government provided 5G wireless is in your future.

FCC Chair, Ajit Pai against Government 5G Network

Considering the recent FCC repeal of Net Neutrality, it’s not a surprise Chairman Ajit Pai opposes any government 5G network. “I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 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,” said Pai.

Obviously, Pai feels the wireless industry offers the best chance at providing the technical innovations necessary for a nationwide 5G network. Still, local municipalities successfully manage their own high-speed Internet services, most notably in Chattanooga, Tennessee. However, any national Internet network raises a whole other set of issues.

Telecom Industry doesn’t want Federal 5G

Of course, key companies in the telecommunications industry also strongly oppose the Trump administration’s 5G plans. An industry trade group including AT&T and Verizon Wireless share Pai’s opinion that private industry is the best way to bring 5G to the public. We previously covered the AT&T trials of their new network technology in Texas.

Next Steps for the Federal Government and 5G

The U.S. Government is currently speaking with American and European providers of wireless technology, with no news about the next steps. It is hoped a final decision gets made by September of this year. The White House Press Secretary echoed this fact: “There’s been absolutely no decision made other than the fact, the need for a secure network.”

Ultimately, with strong industry and FCC opposition, a federally-controlled 5G network looks unlikely. This doesn’t even consider the opinions of other groups strongly against any government control of the media. A final question likely applies in this case: does the potential specter of foreign cybercrime outweigh a free Internet?

Stay tuned to Bandwidth Place for additional coverage of this important issue as warranted.