Reported plan for government wireless network gets panned

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Documents obtained by Axios outline National Security Council (NSC) plans to guard against Chinese cyberattacks by bringing at least a portion of the 5G network in-house.

The top US 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.

The US mobile has been working on deploying 5G networks for years, with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US investing heavily.

According to a report, senior officials learned about the administration's proposal of nationalizing the super-fast 5G network recently.

President Donald Trump has a radical plan to gain an advantage over China in the so-called AI arms race, with a leaked report revealing a roadmap to develop and nationalize an ultrafast 5G network within the next three years. Additionally, the mobile industry would probably raise quite an outcry over the next six to eight months about how such a centralized network would be funded and built.

"It argues that one of the "pros" of that plan is that it would cause "less commercial disruption" to the wireless industry than the government building a network".

Upgrading to new 5G networks capable of handling massive amounts of digital data wirelessly and instantly is seen as essential for the success of innovations from virtual reality and self-driving cabs to "smart" cities.

"We believe that the worldwide community should, on the basis of mutual respect and trust, strengthen dialogue and cooperation and join hands in addressing the threat of cyber attacks", she said. AT&T began rolling out 5G service at the start of the year. Access to the network would then be rented to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

The documents also offered up two potential options for getting the 5G network built.

"We're not Venezuela. We don't need to have the government run everything", Walden said.

An official told Axios that in addition to a government-owned network, the administration could also consider forming a consortium of top wireless companies to collaborate on building out next-generation systems. Industry standards have been set, trials have been underway since 2016, and later this year AT&T is set to be the first to launch mobile 5G service in 12 USA locations.

Apart from FCC chairman Pai, three of remaining four FCC commissioners also said on Monday that they opposed nationalizing the 5G network, while the fourth expressed skepticism. The Trump national security team is in the early stages of deciding whether or not to build and operate it, said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to discuss internal deliberations on a national security issue. The reason for this is quite simple; the US government does not want foreign countries to compromise the security of these networks, which at this point is China. With the current administration look for that to be a major consideration.

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