The documents include a PowerPoint deck and a memo, reportedly produced by a senior National Security Council advisor, which have been presented recently to other federal agencies.
In the presentation, two options were suggested: have the American government pay for and build a network, or have wireless providers build their own 5G networks. The presentation indicates that a government-built network would then be leased out to carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. The new standard is already being tested and could be widely available by 2020.
The first (and quickest) way for the plan to be adopted in the USA would be to have the government pay for and build a network itself.
The alternative plan whereby operators build their own competing 5G networks has been described as "no option at all", according to an Axios source familiar with the documents.
Whatever the case may be, a nationalized 5G network is now a part of the conversation, however unlikely it may be to come to pass.
But let's make it clear: the proposal doesn't discuss increasing ISP competition anywhere.
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An investigation into Huawei and ZTE Corp took place in 2012, examining whether the devices created by the Chinese companies could allow foreign espionage and threaten American infrastructure. 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 USA locations. This plan calls for it in three years, which seems wildly implausible.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee likened it to life in Venezuela. While Nokia, Samsung, and Ericsson all make network equipment used worldwide, the document sees Huawei and ZTE as becoming globally dominant due to their government support. Various trade groups have insisted the US should stick to free-market policies, and the entire FCC-deeply split on the matter of net neutrality protections-has also come out unanimously in opposition to any such plan.
More of these eyesores to go up everywhere? -China Economic and Security Review Commission, which works for Congress and follows China issues. The proposal also goes against numerous principles laid out by the current FCC chair, Ajit Pai, who has been a vigorous advocate of a "light-touch" approach to networks where the federal government backs off from subsidizing and regulating internet service providers.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said the memo "correctly diagnoses a real problem".
"We doubt these ideas will advance for a variety of reasons, including spectrum constraints, private sector investment and the availability of other security measures", Height said Monday. "But the remedy proposed here really misses the mark".