US Unveils Plans to Speed Up 5G Wireless Deployment

An illustration of Earth with circuits covering North America and an Ethernet cable being plugged into the planet

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The U.S. communications regulator will hold a massive auction to bolster 5G service, the next generation of mobile networks, and will spend $20 billion for rural internet.

This is part of FCC's three-part 5G Fast Plan, namely, spectrum freeing-up, small antennas installment and deployment of optical fiber, according to Pai.

According to the FCC, the money for this new program will come from a "repurposing" of the Universal Service Fund, a system of subsidies meant to promote access to telecom services in underserved areas in the US.

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

Trump's 5G goals are in conflict with the Federal Trade Commission's stance on Qualcomm, the world's largest chipmaker.

"We can not allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future", the president said in an event at the White House.

"So far this Administration's interventions on 5G have done more harm than good", Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic FCC commissioner, tweeted Friday.

For more than a year, the White House has been mulling an executive order that would direct the Commerce Department to block US companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunications makers that pose significant national security risks, Reuters reported in December. The auction will sell 3,400 MHz in three different spectrum bands.

Another challenge for 5G service is the country's weaker infrastructure in rural areas, according to the CTIA report.

Pai responded to the criticism telling Yahoo Finance he believes America is leading the 5G race and he hopes "to move forward in a bipartisan way to maintain that American leadership". It will provide US$20.4 billion in subsidies over the next 10 years to companies to build out rural infrastructure. AT&T aims to offer a nationwide sub-6 GHz mobile 5G network by early-2020.

However, in contrast to the Trump administration's worldwide tour warning allies about the security dangers of implementing foreign technology in the development of 5G - the networks that will operate with lightning-speed connections - Trump did not specifically bring up China or its top telecom companies, Huawei and ZTE. Pai said consideration is "ongoing" without offering a deadline for a decision. "The work this administration's FCC has done to ensure America remains the world leader in internet and telecommunications technology will produce incalculable benefits for our economy for decades to come", Ken Cuccinelli, FreedomWorks Foundation Director of the Regulatory Action Center, said in a press statement.

Pai was among a group of US officials who, at an industry conference in February, pressured allies to stop using wireless networking gear from Chinese firms such as Huawei over fears that the equipment could enable Chinese eavesdropping.

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