The idea of a nationalized 5G network represents "a bad choice" that would jeopardize the United States' position in the global 5G race, former Democratic Congressman Rick Boucher said in a statement provided to Android Headlines, reflecting on recent reports that President Trump's administration considered such a concept in recent months or is still in the process of mulling over it. "Placing the government in charge of building a nationwide 5G network would be in contravention of over 20 years of bi-partisan [sic] federal policy," the ex-Representative said, directly stating his stance that continued encouragement of private investments in the wireless sector is the only way to move forward.
After his 28-year stint at the U.S. House of Representatives came to an end in 2011, Mr. Boucher joined the Internet Innovation Alliance as an Honorary Chair, with the industry advocacy group also coming out in strong opposition of a nationalized 5G network on Monday. The former Congressman highlighted the fact that all five Commissioners of the FCC criticized the proposal, showing a rare moment of unity and clearly signaling they consider the matter to be a bipartisan issue, even amid clashes over net neutrality. A senior member of the National Security Council that's said to have authored the memo that leaked Sunday argued that nationalizing the process of 5G deployment in the United States is the only way for Washington to ensure a secure growth of a number of emerging technologies expected to be enabled by the next wireless revolution, citing a security threat supposedly posed by China. Solutions expected to follow 5G commercialization range from self-driving vehicles and the Internet of Things to general artificial intelligence applications, with the latter being highlighted by the controversial memo as a particularly concerning field in which the U.S. may fall behind China.
One insider later claimed the leaked document wasn't entirely representative of the one that's recently been circulated among the President's closest circle, saying that its revised version is neutral in regards to whether a large-scale 5G nationalization is necessary, though it still suggested some form of a direct government intervention in the wireless segment as the responsible course of action. The idea is understood to have been primarily aimed at preventing Chinese network equipment manufacturers such as Huawei, China Telecom, and ZTE from providing any of their infrastructures to U.S. operators for their 5G rollout efforts. The chances of such a proposal materializing remain slim, especially since 5G R&D is past its early days and global deployment is expected to start in the near future, many industry watchers agree.