FCC chairman Ajit Pai is opposed to a government-run 5G network

Over the weekend, Axios reported that officials within the Trump administration have been proposing the creation of a nationwide 5G network in order to protect against Chinese leadership in forthcoming networking technology.
However, it seems that the unnamed senior national security officials who presented the proposal failed to talk to current FCC commissioner Ajit Pai first. Pai released a statement this morning that, in no uncertain terms, opposes the plan for a government-run 5G network:
“I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. 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. What government can and should do is to push spectrum into the commercial marketplace and set rules that encourage the private sector to develop and deploy next-generation infrastructure. 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.”
It’s not a surprising stance for Pai, considering his policies as FCC commissioner thus far; just look at his systematic dismantling of net neutrality laws in order to limit government regulation of the internet in favor of corporate competition. It’s hard to imagine that someone who feels that major telecom companies need less government oversight would be in favor of suddenly allowing the government to run the entirety of America’s 5G network.
Pai instead suggests that the government should continue to make spectrum available for commercial users like T-MobileVerizon, and AT&T. All three companies already have their own 5G plans in the works in line with the recently ratified 3GPP standards for the 5G NR specification in various low-, mid-, and high-range areas of the wireless spectrum.

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