As an effort to protect the U.S. wireless systems from China and Russia, several top national security officials from the Trump administration are pressuring their bosses to build a nationalized mobile wireless network.
A PowerPoint deck presentation and a memo in which senior officials are proposing to centralize the U.S. 5G network was obtained by Axios reporters.
Axios reports that the documents lay out two options that detail how the administration can go about developing such a network within three years, an unprecedented step in a historically private industry.
The first option is that the U.S. government can both fund and build the infrastructure without any consultation with private companies. The second option says that private wireless providers will build their own 5G networks which will compete with one another.
The first plan is said to affect the wireless industry negatively.
An official who is part of the plan’s drafting told Axios that the second option won’t help protect the U.S. against outside attacks as a centralized network would.
According to The Hill, the source added that the internal debate within the administration would hinge on including carriers on the process or going at it alone. They may call on wireless carriers to team up and help build the network, in what the source described as a call to action to protect the country and put aside their business models.
Trump’s administration debates in the memo that such action will start a process in the wireless industry that according to them is “the 21st century equivalent of the Eisenhower National Highway System.”
The PowerPoint presentation says that the U.S. must make moves to advance in the wireless space because “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure.”
“China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.”
The new plan will be much different than the current system, meaning that the government won’t need to give leasing airwaves to companies that build and operate their own networks.