Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

US Mulls Building Nationalized 5G Network as Protection From China

The mobile network plan was compared to President Eisenhower’s construction of highways The mobile network plan was compared to President Eisenhower’s construction of highwaysFOX
| 30 January, 2018, 01:57

The National Security Council is pitching the idea of having the United States government build the infrastructure for the upcoming 5G evolution in wireless communications, according to documents obtained by Axios.

The quickest way for 5G technology to be adopted in the USA would be for the government to build the network itself, the memo argues.

Any decision to build a nationally owned 5G network, however, would be a major challenge to operators including AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc.

Carriers have already spent billions of dollars acquiring spectrum and beginning to develop and test 5G networks, which are expected to be at least 100 times faster than current 4G networks and cut latency to less than one thousandth of a second from one one hundredth of a second in 4G, the FCC said. More than sixteen years later, construction on that network is just beginning. This push, seen by industry leaders as a national security policy as much as a tech policy, is an effort to build out America's wireless infrastructure without Chinese infiltration. A third option would be getting wireless carriers to build out the network in a consortium - which, Axios notes dryly, "would require them to put aside their business models to serve the country's greater good". Why would any sensible American trust them to protect the security of a national network? It was unclear whether the option discussed would involve working with those companies. "Building a nationwide secure 5G network sets the condition for future success in the information domain".

AT&T has announced plans to whisk 5G wireless services to mobile phone users in 12 markets by the end of 2018, While AT&T also is testing 5G broadband services to homes and businesses, it has been putting infrastructure in place for 5G mobile phone services. 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 U.S. locations.


Axios cited a memo by a senior official as contending that the USA needs to quickly deploy 5G because China is in a top position with the technology and "is the dominant malicious actor" online. The documents call for the creation of the nationwide network within three years, despite the ongoing development of a privately-held network now under construction by companies such as like Samsung, Intel, Nokia, and Huawei.

Representative Greg Walden, a Republican who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, dismissed the idea.

Building a centralised and nationwide 5G network would involve numerous discussions regarding impact on market mechanism and government expenditure, according to Kelly Hsieh, a research director at consultancy TrendForce.

America's next-generation 5G network could be owned and operated by the United States government, according to leaked plans.

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

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