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FCC chairman slams prospect of government-run 5G network

The chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai has condemned the alleged proposal that the US government is considering the idea of nationalising 5G by constructing its own network amidst security concerns from Chinese technology companies.

The FCC chairman described the prospect of a government-run 5G network as a costly and counterproductive distraction stressing that market, not government, was the best positioned to drive innovation and investment in the telecommunications industry.

He suggested that the US government should focus its attention on making more spectrum available and implement rules that encourage the development and deployment of next-generation networks. The FCC's response comes off the back of a report which circulated in the US press that claimed the Trump administration was considering a plan to build a centralized 5G network within the next three years in an effort to fend off growing competition from China.

However, the thought of nationalising 5G prompted vehement opposition and widespread condemnation from industry leaders within the telecommunications and technology spectrum. Industry association US-Telecom rubbished the plan, and suggested that if the proposed move was implemented it would slam the brakes in the US objective to become a leader in 5G technology.

However, not all were put off by the proposed plan and some analysts highlighted its potential benefits. BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk has suggested that nationalising 5G would create a significant jobs boost for the construction industry and would benefit companies such as American Tower, Crown Castle, CommScope and Corning.

However, he did concede that the US government would be confronted with significant obstacles such as restriction in the location of cell sites, availability of labour and the time it would take to free up and deploy new spectrum.

An AT&T representative told Mobile World Live that the operator couldn't comment on a plan it hasn't seen, but said work to launch 5G service in the country "is already well down the road," and added that the operator is in absolutely no doubt America will lead the 5G revolution.