Trump calls for expanding airwaves to 5G service

The Associated Press

FCC Chief Ajit Pai Unveils New Push to Ensure American Leadership in 5G APSEAN MORAN12 Apr 2019

This afternoon President Trump and the FCC announced several initiatives to spur 5G network growth in the U.S.

President Trump announced plans Friday to open up more of the US airwave spectrum to 5G networks, saying America must win the race for high-speed wireless supremacy.

Officials will also be unveiling the FCC's next big 5G push, announcing the "largest spectrum auction in American history", according to Pai.

Pai also announced his intent to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a fund that will invest United States dollars 20.4 billion into high-speed broadband networks in rural America over the next decade. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind. Pai said that proposal is still pending.

Trump says, "We must not rest". Is the Administration promising to provide new money for rural broadband through existing authority, or is the Administration going to need to ask Congress to provide new money? According to various estimates, 5G networks are expected by 2020.

"In the United States our approach is private sector driven and private sector led", said President Trump.

There have been concerns that the United States may be lagging behind China in 5G, but Pai is confident the leading the way.

The millimeter-wave spectrum or high-band spectrum to be auctioned off refers to frequencies above 24 GHz.

The announcement comes amid an intense race by countries around the world to deploy the technology offering wireless speeds 10 to 100 times faster than now available. The last major auction held by the FCC was completed a couple of years ago when T-Mobile purchased 31MHz of low-frequency 600MHz spectrum.

The FCC voted on Friday to seek comments on bidding procedures for the next auction.

President Trump shot down the idea of a nationalized 5G network at the White House event on Friday. The current rules “impair the ability of users to deploy small, next-generation networking devices on their own property, ” The proposed changes would allow private property owners to install “hub and relay antennas” to expand the reach of 5G. Mid-band spectrum offers less capacity than the higher-band alternatives, but can cover greater distances.

The chairman said, "We believe that the security and reliability of 5G is absolutely important, not just as a matter of national competitiveness, but also as a matter of national security". Pai said consideration is "ongoing" without offering a deadline for a decision.

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