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National Security Council Proposes Nationalizing 5G Network

by Countable | 1.29.18

What’s the story?

In a powerpoint presentation and memo obtained by Axios, officials at the National Security Council propose nationalizing the emerging, mid-range 5G network in order to protect the U.S. from China and other "bad actors", while staying competitive in the global technology industry.

In the presentation the authors argue that 5G capability will be necessary for everything from self-driving cars to virtual reality to automated farming, and the capability must be protected from China, who is the "dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain."

If nationalized, the memo says the network would be a 21st century equivalent of the national highway system.

The other option outlined would be for existing corporations, who have already invested millions in developing 5G technology, to form a consortium to build the network together. The authors argue that would be unlikely to develop a nationwide, 5G network fast enough to adequately address threats to the U.S. economy and national security.

Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as the other FCC commissioners, came out on Monday with statements opposing the idea of nationalization. The Hill reports Pai argued for the free market continuing to be the best way to advance innovation:

"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."

National carriers, like AT&T and Verizon, have cited the work already underway to build a 5G network in response to news of the memo, which they say they have not seen. An industry executive also commented to the Wall Street Journal that the idea of nationalization runs counter to U.S. history:

"It would fly in the face of basically the entire history of US policy in terms of the private sector and government."

Given the memo’s stated goal of seeing a fully developed 5G network within three years, expect to hear more about this debate over government versus private ownership in the next 6-8 months.

What do you think?

Do you think nationalization is the answer here, or is the free market the better choice?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Pixabay / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(136)
  • Azrael
    01/30/2018
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    Holy💩💩💩💩💩this is a joke Who in their right mind would trust this administration with their network 1984 anyone? No no no no no no no no no

    Like (76)
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  • BeStrong
    01/30/2018
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    I definitely Do Not want this government to ‘protect’ us by building out a government owned 5G network. No thank you to the government and it’s critical shortfall in security tech, tech savvy, tech talent and administrative oversight. And No to this government ‘choosing’ private partners to assist. Can you hear me now. That’s a hard No.

    Like (60)
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  • Robert
    01/30/2018
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    I understand Protection, but I think having the government involved in controlling our communications is a step in the wrong direction. 1st step in controlling a population is controlling communication.

    Like (41)
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  • Sam
    01/30/2018
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    I would tend to agree with most posters with regard to privacy and security, however, if Ajit Pai, is against nationalization, then I’m for it.

    Like (35)
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  • Jerry
    01/30/2018
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    Very bad idea. I’m more concerned with Washington NSA yahoos and tin hat GOP ideologues than the Chinese.

    Like (34)
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  • Andrea
    01/30/2018
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    Noooo we don’t need or want all that, big brother needs to slow down.

    Like (32)
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  • Pam
    01/30/2018
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    I don't think the same government that wants to suspend net neutrality should be in charge of 5G. I don't see them ensuring access for all or any sort of privacy control.

    Like (26)
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  • Kathleen
    01/30/2018
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    HELL NO!🙃😡😡

    Like (24)
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  • Caroline
    01/30/2018
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    This better be a joke. The government to build and control the 5G network? They can’t even maintain the interstate road system.

    Like (22)
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  • Leon
    01/30/2018
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    Yeah, I want the government to have unlimited access to everything WiFi or cellular said NO FOUNDING FATHER ever.

    Like (21)
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  • Thomas
    01/30/2018
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    Can I have a camera in the Oval Office?

    Like (16)
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  • Daryl
    01/30/2018
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    All great inventions from this country has come without government involvement. Keep the government out, regulations and taxes low and then sit back and watch the private sector innovate.

    Like (13)
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  • Robert
    01/30/2018
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    Free market, we don’t need The Gestapo monitoring our private communication. If you want to nationalize something try healthcare

    Like (13)
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  • Ken
    01/30/2018
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    Removing the friction (regulations, taxes) from the private sector so they can create 5g is the way to go. If you want to accelerate then provide incentives which are paid back via growth.

    Like (12)
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  • Nathan
    01/30/2018
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    Of course they want to nationalize that. It would make spying on everyone that much easier. Thanks but no thanks.

    Like (11)
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  • Joe
    01/30/2018
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    Oh hell no!!! Who the hell going to protect us from the government, more importantly this idiotic administration?!? Their excuse is protecting us from China?!? WTF?!?!

    Like (11)
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  • Stan
    01/30/2018
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    Is this much different than the government owning certain MgHz on the radio spectrum?

    Like (8)
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  • Margaret
    01/30/2018
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    Terrible idea

    Like (6)
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  • S
    01/30/2018
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    Nothing should be nationalized. Nothing! The government has no business in usurping a network. It isn’t for security but for the opportunity it will give the Reps to infiltrate political enemies, to spy on others. This is purely political. Let the private tech businesses continue to address network security issues. The government is too intent on dividing the country and creating methods to attack us and others to be trusted. The federal government can not be trusted with this. If we think losing an open internet is bad, this would create a big brother is watching climate in which the govt nefariously could control any aspect of our lives.

    Like (6)
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  • Amy
    01/30/2018
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    This is especially tough because of trump and his cabinet. Ironically, as a 'social democrat", I am always for our government (which is,by the way, a collective of the people when used correctly) helping and protecting us. For example: Social Security, Medicare and yes...regulations that put breaks on free market indulgences. But THIS administration is the government I do truly fear. I don't believe they have an ounce of democratic government in their hearts so to give them the overseeing of an entire 5G network sounds like a very dangerous idea. My thought is that this should in no way be a quick decision. It probably should not happen at all but most certainly not under trump. How about really educating Americans to think and learn before they believe every last thing they read or see on the internet or TV. That is our ultimate protection.

    Like (6)
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