Reported plan for government wireless network gets panned


National security officials in the Trump administration laid out the plans in a PowerPoint presentation and memo obtained by the news website Axios.

The PowerPoint presentation says that the USA has to build superfast 5G wireless technology quickly because "China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure", and "China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain". The only trouble that the US government now foresees is that if the 5G networks are not nationalized, it could open up multiple doors to foreign bodies like China to compromise the multitude of products that will eventually be taking advantage of 5G networks.

But a senior member of the National Security Council reportedly believes the U.S. would be under a greater cybersecurity threat from China if the federal government didn't have more control over the upcoming 5G networks.

The plan includes the government building a super-fast 5G wireless network, a senior administration official told Reuters.

"One option would be for the government to create a new, wholesale wireless utility to offer services over the 3.7- 4.2 GHz (radio frequency) band", said Blair Levin, an analyst at New Street Research in a report. The goal is no secret, the official said, citing a line in the recently released national security strategy: "We will improve America's digital infrastructure by deploying a secure 5G Internet capability nationwide".

The documents suggest that allowing carriers to continue building toward 5G networks would take longer and cost more - an untenable option given China's "dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure" and its potential threats to national security. "Other options under consideration include more private sector control but still greater federal government involvement than now is contemplated by the market".

That 5G plan would see the federal government take over such infrastructure roll-out over the next few years from USA mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon Communications and T-Mobile.

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For Trump, nationalization of a mobile network would go against his administration's belief that deregulation and privatization is best for a healthy economy.

Shares of the biggest USA wireless carriers fell at the start of trade on Monday, with Verizon and AT&T down 1 percent.

But the source claimed it could use the network owned by a variety of providers.

"For the greatest effect we must elicit allies to cooperatively build similar networks in their countries and work together to build then in emerging markets".

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement today saying that he opposes any such centralized 5G network, and it's his agency that controls the nation's airwaves.

An unnamed senior White House official said that the government wants to build a network so calls can not be listened to by the Chinese.

"We doubt these ideas will advance for a variety of reasons, including spectrum constraints, private sector investment and the availability of other security measures", Height said Monday.