President Donald Trump’s national security advisers have been mulling over the possibility of partially nationalizing the United States’ mobile network in the face of the Chinese threat, Axios reports.
Citing a leaked memo and a computer file from a senior National Security Council official, Axios claims that the Trump administration is thinking seriously about taking over the nation’s nascent 5G network by 2021. So, we should expect fierce debates about how the network will be built and who is going to pay for it in the coming months.
According to the leaked documents, there are two official scenarios: either the U.S. government builds the super-fast mobile network on taxpayer money or wireless providers are allowed to build their own networks and compete against one another.
The first scenario would be an unprecedented takeover of an infrastructure that has been traditionally private. The second scenario, however, may take too much time and cost more, according to the leaked file.
The White House acknowledges that a nationalization would cause intense “commercial disruption” on the market.
U.S. Poised to Build Its Own 5G Network
A person familiar with the matter told Axios that the second scenario is not an option at all. Washington is confident that only a government-owned mobile network could protect the nation against China and other hostile nations.
There is also a third scenario: the nations’ wireless operators could join forces in one consortium to build the mobile network. But this could destroy competition and innovation.
If the first scenario becomes reality, a large part of the economy could land under federal control. The leaked memo likens the plan to the Eisenhower National Highway System. Trump’s national security advisers are reportedly confident that the move could lead to a “new paradigm” for internet service providers at the end of the Trump era.
Also, Axios found that the U.S. government is running out of time in building the network as China, which is called “the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain” in the documents, already has a “dominant position” in the operation of such networks.
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