After reports of the National Security Council’s plan for the government to either build or acquire a centralized 5G network surfaced last night, members of the Federal Communications Commission have started publishing statements voicing opposition to the plans as presented.

“I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G
network,” chairman Ajit Pai said. “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.”

Pai goes onto say that the government should allot more spectrum and not waste money on its own network that would distract from ongoing commercial efforts on 5G.

The plans, first reported on by Axios, were motivated by the looming dominance and cybersecurity threat of China on the internet, especially as much of the telecom equipment that networks use is sourced from the country.

“U.S. commercial wireless companies are the envy of the world and are already rushing ahead to lead in 5G,” commissioner Michael O’Rielly stated. “I plan to do everything in my power to provide the necessary resources, including allocating additional spectrum and preempting barriers to deployment, to allow this private sector success to continue.”

“Any suggestion that the federal government should build and operate a nationwide 5G network is a non-starter,” said commissioner Brendan Carr.

Carr, O’Rielly and Pai are Republicans.

As of press time, the only Democratic member of the commission to comment on the report is Mignon Clyburn and she has voiced further concerns on the potential of federal regulations superseding local and state laws on cellular infrastructure.

“Localities have a central role to play; the technical expertise
possessed by industry should be utilized; and cybersecurity must be a core consideration,” Clyburn said. “A network built by the federal government, I fear, does not leverage the best approach needed for our nation to win the 5G race.”

We will update this piece as soon as commissioner Jessica Rosenwrocel’s office publishes her statement.

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