“5G nationalization” was one of the key topics Democratic Representatives brought up several times during last Thursday’s FCC oversight hearing before the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee.
The partisanship that permeated the more than three-and-a-half-hour hearing was scathing concerning the topic. It followed Wednesday’s advocacy by Republican operative and Rivada Networks lobbyist Karl Rove and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who endorsed the concept of the Department of Defense seeking bids to create a secure 5G network of defense spectrum on a shared wholesale basis with the wireless industry. That unconventional prospect prompted traditional wireless carriers to balk and invoke labels like “nationalization,” Politico reported.
Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) pressed FCC Commissioners to reiterate opposition to so-called “5G nationalization.” Walden believes the private sector should build out 5G networks. All five Commissioners said they would oppose nationalization.
Several lawmakers, including Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Billy Long (R-MO) criticized the concept. Telecom Subcommittee Chair Mike Doyle (D-PA) said: “The only person I know who’s proposing a nationalized 5G is Donald Trump.”
At the crux of the issue is how the Administration approaches some of the Pentagon’s prime 5G spectrum. The Trump Administration last month unveiled plans to auction off 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum previously dedicated to military purposes for commercial use starting in mid-2022, Inside Towers reported. The military uses the spectrum for critical radar operations including air missile defense, according to DoD.