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Radio News: For a moment, Trump administration looked ahead on wireless

Jan 29, 2018 10:50 pm
For a few hours last weekend, the administration of Donald Trump was touted not for efforts to "Make America Great Again," but for an idea to bring America into the future. Axios reported that the Trump administration was proposing a federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile network, bringing 5G technology to the entire country. 5G is the fifth-generation mobile network that transmits data 10 times faster than the current 4G LTE standard. That means just about anyone with a cell phone gets virtually unlimited data. It means that there is enough bandwidth for self-driving cars, home appliances, the electrical grid, traffic lights, health equipment, air quality monitors, and all sorts of other devices hooked to the internet. FCC chief Ajit Pai quickly put out a statement saying he was very much against the idea of nationalizing 5G. “I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network,” he said in a statement. “The main lesson to draw from the wireless sector’s development over the past three decades — including American leadership in 4G — is that the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment.” Of course it was not long before Recode reported that, no, a national effort to give America a state-of-the-art wireless system was not happening. The regime has no plans to build its own ultra-fast 5G wireless network. White House officials said the original story was based on a dated document, floated by a single staff member, and not reflective of their thinking on the issue. What Pai wants -- to give more public spectrum to commercial carriers such as AT&T and Verizon to create private 5G networks -- is what will most likely happen.