The Internet Innovation Alliance opposes the idea of having a nationalized 5G network in the United States, the coalition said Monday, praising the wireless industry's previous efforts that led to major infrastructural upgrades and highlighting such endeavors as the right model for the future. Major wireless investments "can only come from the private sector" that's significantly more capable of creating an environment conducive to swift infrastructural deployments than the government is, IIA argues. The group's statement was issued in response to a recently leaked memo authored by an official of the National Security Council that proposed the nationalization of 5G deployment efforts in the country, citing security threats, particularly those believed to be stemming from China.
While IIA acknowledged recent concerns that the U.S. may be falling behind in the global 5G race, it argued that improving its position must be done by promoting private investments and innovation in the wireless segment, allowing the private sector to once again spearhead the deployment of the fifth generation of mobile networks that's widely expected to be the most disruptive one yet. The position largely echoes the one taken by the Federal Communications Commission and its Chairman earlier today, with IIA even quoting parts of Ajit Pai's statement on the matter that strongly opposed any idea of a nationalized 5G network, calling it a "costly and counterproductive distraction."
The leaked memo argued that taking control of 5G deployment from carriers is the only move guaranteeing the U.S. can count on an infrastructure that will allow for safe growth of all emerging technologies that are expected to be enabled and widely adopted due to the next wireless revolution. One insider later claimed the documents themselves were outdated and hence not entirely representative of the idea that's currently being circulated among President Trump's closest circle. The revised version of the original proposal doesn't directly advocate for the government to build and maintain a nationwide 5G network but still says a more proactive approach to regulating the deployment is needed, according to the same source. The suggestion itself is believed to be directly related to recent tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology that also effectively prevented Huawei from signing a smartphone retail agreement with AT&T earlier this month. The federal government and a number of intelligence agencies reportedly want to avoid a scenario in which the deployment of 5G networks in the country is being supported by Chinese network equipment manufacturers like China Telecom, ZTE, and Huawei.