WIA, CTIA, Others Urge Trump Not to Nationalize 5G

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Seven industry associations, all telecom-related, wrote to President Donald Trump Tuesday asking his administration not to nationalize 5G infrastructure. The groups are: the Wireless Infrastructure Association; USTelecom – the Broadband Association; CTIA; the Competitive Carriers Association; NCTA, the Internet and Telephone Association; NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association; and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.  

They’re reacting to a Request for Information issued last month by the Department of Defense seeking data on how the DoD could own and operate 5G networks.  

“Such an action would be at odds with more than a century of private sector led innovation and investment in communications networks, have a chilling effect on the entire broadband sector, and jeopardize American leadership in the global digital economy,” wrote the leaders of the seven associations. “Whether it is access to spectrum, fiber backhaul infrastructure, antennas and radios, or any other elements necessary to power resilient, secure and fast 5G networks – we will always be better off with private innovation and competition.”

Broadband providers, including those represented by the associations behind the letter, have invested “trillions in private capital” to build resilient, competitive and efficient networks, they stated. The diversity of technologies and providers that make up these networks — fixed, wired and wireless — provides unique services while promoting sustainable and secure connections, they explained.

As a result of smart policies incentivizing competition and private investment, America’s networks continue to outperform foreign networks throughout the COVID pandemic, they point out. “While centrally planned infrastructure and nationalized networks have struggled with congestion and poor service, American providers have met and exceeded the increased usage demands during COVID-19 while continuing to invest billions at a time when our economy needs it most.”

Citing the need to close the digital divide, the groups said: “Nationalized infrastructure will only create additional obstacles and challenges as we work to connect all Americans, including those who are hardest to reach, with high-speed internet service. It would also unnecessarily expose our infrastructure to greater security risks.”

The letter comes as the DoD RFI also received attention on Capitol Hill. Both Republicans and Democrats have recently urged the administration not to abandon the “successful free-market strategy” supported by Trump for 5G, Inside Towers reported.

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