FCC’s O’Rielly: Gov’t-Sponsored 5G Doesn’t Work With Existing Tower Model

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FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly aired his grievances recently about the “less than half-baked, flawed” concept of a government-sponsored 5G network which has been floated for several weeks by various administration officials. He characterized the concept as, “convoluted and borders on the preposterous” in a blog post.

One argument against the concept O’Rielly put forth concerns towers. 

“Almost all wireless towers and antenna locations are owned or leased by companies unaffiliated with the large wireless providers. However, the existing contractual relationships and uncertainty surrounding the viability of this random wholesale network model means that it is unlikely that the current wireless infrastructure would be available for this purpose,” he wrote.

O’Rielly continued: “To the extent co-location is not an option, that leaves constructing new towers and contracting for new antenna sites. This would make such a network build – starting from the ground up – astronomically expensive,” according to the Commissioner. Such an approach would also take a really long time, he noted.

All in all, O’Rielly argued, among other things, that there’s a lack of available spectrum to make it work and that it won’t stop China’s global expansion into next-generation networks. “Perhaps all the rhetoric and lobbying in favor of this scheme will end once people examine some straight facts and salient arguments,” O’Rielly wrote. All of the other Commissioners have argued against a government-run 5G network too, Inside Towers reported.

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May 13, 2019         

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