FCC chairman Ajit Pai opposes U.S. National Security Council official’s proposal to nationalize 5G

“Trump national security officials are considering an unprecedented federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile network to guard against China, according to sensitive documents obtained by Axios,” Jonathan Swan, David McCabe, Ina Fried, and Kim Hart report for Axios.

“We’ve got our hands on a PowerPoint deck and a memo — both produced by a senior National Security Council official — which were presented recently to senior officials at other agencies in the Trump administration,” Swan, McCabe, Fried, and Hart report. “The documents say America needs a centralized nationwide 5G network within three years. There’ll be a fierce debate inside the Trump administration — and an outcry from the industry — over the next 6-8 months over how such a network is built and paid for.”

“Two options laid out by the documents: 1. The U.S. government pays for and builds the single network — which would be an unprecedented nationalization of a historically private infrastructure,” Swan, McCabe, Fried, and Hart report. “An alternative plan where wireless providers build their own 5G networks that compete with one another — though the document says the downside is it could take longer and cost more. It argues that one of the ‘pros’ of that plan is that it would cause ‘less commercial disruption’ to the wireless industry than the government building a network… The proposal to nationalize a 5G network also only covers one part of the airwaves; there’d be other spaces where private companies could build.”

Read more in the full article here.

“The Federal Communications Commission’s Republican chairman on Monday opposed a plan under consideration by the Trump White House to build a 5G mobile network, nationalizing what has long been the role of private wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon,” David McCabe reports for Axios. “The FCC’s reaction doesn’t bode well for the proposal the Trump administration is considering, first reported by Axios on Sunday night, since it’s one of the main government agencies when it comes to wireless issues.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nationalized 5G. All the efficiency and speed of the DMV.

Proposals and presentations get made for everything under the sun. They’re not even remotely the same as actually doing what’s presented in a slide deck.

The statement from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, with whom we agree:

I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. The market, not the government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment.

Intel working with Apple to bring super-fast 5G to future iPhones – November 17, 2017
U.S. FCC Chairman moves to open 5G floodgates – June 20, 2016


  1. I don’t even care about efficiency. The bigger concern is that I don’t want the government (of either administration) to own our communications network. Taking control over the means of communications is chapter 1 of the totalitarian playbook.

    1. I guess you’ve never heard of the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), which is, for all practical purposes, a U.S. Government only version of the FCC. Certain frequencies are set aside exclusively for U.S. Government ONLY use and those are coordinated through the NTIA with the FCC and other agencies.

      This is the way it has been for decades and will be for many decades going forward into the future.

    1. “Update: Several senior White House officials told Recode Monday that the Trump administration has no plans to build a “nationalized” US 5G network. The presentation, compiled by an unnamed senior NSC aide, was merely a dated proposal that will probably never see the light of day, the officials said.

      The administration sources also pointed out that the FCC has a much larger role in setting broadband policy, and Ajit Pai, the current FCC chairman, has said he opposes the nationalization idea.”

      just more fake news to divert attention away from #releasethememo

  2. Infrastructure is the domain of the state, not private companies. Because infrastructure needs to be build according to need, not profit. We‘ve seen in California what happens when infrastructure is privatized – costs for water and electricity skyrocketed. In Britain privatization of the railways led to massive increases in ticket prices and reduction in services (because profitable lines no longer cross-subsidized unprofitable but necessary ones, which were shut down). Privatization in health let to prices for medications skyrocketing by over 700%, beyond what many can pay for.

    Privatization is not a holy cow. It has its place, but so does the state.

  3. While private industry does do a good job at managing the networks, they have historically always needed a kick in the ass to provide service to the nation. This goes back to the railroads, telegraph, telephone, and electricity. Without the federal government mandating that all of those services were nationwide, the private businesses never would have gone into rural areas or less populated towns. If there is a revision to the telecommunications act to mandate 5G and broadband be available to 99%+ of the population, with the providers managing it, that would follow the model we’ve seen since the early 1800’s. The other model is the interstate highway system or the WPA which built the infrastructure we depend on to this day, and that was completely govenrment built. I see no issue with the feds providing the funds to build out this new network and then turning control over to experts in the industry. Mr Pai has once again proven himself to not understand history, or willingly buys into fantasy land any ranidan nonsense.

  4. To hell with LIAR Ajit Pai. He shot his credibility dead when he killed REAL net neutrality.

    But this issue is indeed worth a debate.

    – IF ALL mobile services would have access to this proposed 5G system, IOW no more stupid monopoly BS on the order of the horrifying US cable TV system, then GOOD.

    – Seeing as most of the mobile service providers are LAZY PARASITES who’s only goal is to rake in the ca$h and to hell with technological progress, having the government build the 5G network would be a BRILLIANT idea! The lazy parasite mobile service providers are NOT going to do it on their own. – – We don’t even have REAL 4G in the USA! And it’s been a finished standard with available hardware since 2013 ! ! ! Good lawd! In the USA, only Verizon has bothered to even test REAL 4G, and that’s only been in the Chicago area. Shameful!

    – Meanwhile, the 5G standard is not finished ! ! ! Therefore, we continue to be reading and hearing only hype Hype HYPE! about 5G. The only company in the USA to announce any testing of 5G in the USA is, again, Verizon:

    On 29 November 2017, Verizon Communications Inc. announced it will be deploying 5G wireless residential broadband services in five U.S. cities, starting in the second half of 2018.


    And seeing as Verizon’s 4G test has NOT proliferated to the rest of the nation, I seriously doubt the other lazy parasite mobile service companies will bother with out a cattle prod applied to their back sides.

    IOW: Sometimes the only way to obtain technological progress is NOT the free market, sad to say. Sometimes a MANDATE is the only way. And of course, the best MANDATE is one that includes the means of providing that mandate to the public. Therefore, potentially, it could be a great thing to have the US government build the US 5G network, as long as they then got the hell out of the way and let the free market put it to use benefiting We The People. (IOW I am no fan of government bureaucracy. Run away!)

    1. I should snarkily add that Apple’s iPhones have been able to run on REAL 4G (aka LTE Advanced) for YEARS now! But where can you get it in the USA? Good luck. 😛 It’s an incredibly sick state of affairs, a profound failure of the free market in the USA. Most of the rest of the world laughs at our archaic mobile technology. And it’s all due to lazy parasite mobile service companies. Bastards.

    2. I don’t think the government should build or maintain a 5G network but it should:
      1. Force the telcos to unite around a single 5G standard before they are allowed to buy a single slice of the spectrum.
      2. Force the telcos to allow easy switching from one network to another–no more locked SIMs or devices.
      3. Incentivize coverage of less dense population zones—this is tricky because of typical pork barrel politics. Hard to keep government incentives from turning into sacred cash cows for local politicians.
      4. Essentially make all 5G airwaves available to all customers.

      1. In other words, pass a revision to the telecommunications act that makes them build it all over the nation. Just like the rural electrification act. “Incentives” won’t do it, and the companies know this, the “stick” has to be used in this instance as it has been historically.

      2. Ya know, by FORCING the telcos, you’re talking about increased regulation, right? And, if you’re increasing regulations to the level where you’re telling them how they should do business, then they’re just acting as an extension anyway… so why not just have the government build and maintain the network as Trump has said?

        If you sign up with the government, you pay a tax for access and you only get access to a set amount of data. If you want additional features on top, like pay movies and such, you could always get your own separate subscription for each BUT, to save money, go through one of the large providers that waive your access fee to get you locked into their subscription. I could see how the telecoms would EAT THIS UP because then the government could use it’s powers of eminent domain to acquire the land wherever they need to put the transmitters. No more paying some fella in the middle of nowhere to “lease” the property immediately around a tower.

  5. Agree with MDN. Unlike MDN’s absolutely bat**** stance on net neutrality (competition through awesome local monopolies), MDN is correct. There are enough wireless providers and competition to roll out 5G (just like they did for 2/3/4G) that it’s nuts to have the govt. involved (beyond it’s normal spectrum allocation function). MDN is right on the mark here. Apparently even Ajit and broken clocks are sometimes right.

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