UPDATE At last Friday’s White House event on 5G, President Donald Trump made it clear, deployments should proceed without the heavy hand of government getting in the way. But now, prominent political operative Newt Gingrich predicts Trump will eventually pivot on the issue.
Gingrich tells Politico, he doesn’t believe the traditional model for wireless deployment will make 5G operational fast enough and he will continue to fight for an alternative.
“As people start asking practical questions, they’re going to realize there was nothing announced the other day that matters,” Gingrich said.
With tower climbers representing their own companies and the National Association of Tower Erectors flanking them, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Trump announced a new rural broadband fund at the event. The money is to be repurposed from the Connect America Fund, which is due to end in 2020. Pai also said the Commission is poised to begin the next 5G wireless spectrum auctions in December, Inside Towers reported.
It was the first time Trump has addressed the issue of possible 5G network nationalization, a concept that some of his advisors have proposed for several weeks. Trump said the U.S. approach is driven by the private sector. “We had another alternative of doing it that would be through government investment and leading through the government. We don’t want to do that because it won’t be nearly as good, nearly as fast,” he said.
Gingrich called the event a “pro-traditional order cheering session. But it doesn’t accomplish rural America and it doesn’t accomplish Huawei. And I think that’ll sink in, and we’ll be back at the same old drawing board,” he told Politico.
Gingrich and Karl Rove, political consultant and a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, as well as Trump 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, have floated the idea of 5G nationalization, Inside Towers reported. The concept is, the federal government would take over 5G airwaves and build a nationalized network that private carriers would have to lease from the government.
The wireless industry, which is spending billions to build 5G networks, opposes the idea, as do all the FCC Commissioners. WIA and CTIA both applauded the President for his “clarity” on the 5G rollout and for putting to rest the spectrum nationalization concept.
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April 19, 2019