FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai spoken out against the Trump administration's plan for a government-run 5G network.
A senior official in President Trump's administration confirmed over the weekend that the US government is exploring ways to counter various perceived security threats, with the development of a 5G network, containing parts manufactured in China, believed to be among the ideas.
The official, talking to Reuters, claimed that the idea is being discussed at a low level, with President Trump likely to weigh-in with his decision within the next six-to-eight months.
It seems the unnamed official in question failed to talk to current FCC commissioner Ajit Pai first, who has released a statement opposing the 'counterproductive' proposal.
"I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network. 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," Pai said.
"What government can and should do is to push spectrum into the commercial marketplace and set rules that encourage the private sector to develop and deploy next-generation infrastructure.
"Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future."
Pai's stance is hardly surprising given his recent dismantling of net neutrality laws in favour of a so-called "open market" over anything controlled by the US government.
In addition to Pai, four other FCC chairs have also released statements opposing the proposal for a government-run 5G network.
US government's plan to build own 5G network in a bid to counter security threats from China and other countries is as unsurprising as Pai's remarks.
Since taking office in 2016, President Trump has taken a much tougher stance on the risks of cyberespionage from China. For example, the US government recently ordered AT&T to cut ties with Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei.
This comes after Chinese network and telecoms equipment makers Huawei and ZTE were investigated for their ties to alleged espionage on American artificial infrastructure in 2012. And many members of the government's intelligence team still feel threatened.
Speaking to Reuters, the official said the US government wants to "build a network so the Chinese can't listen to your calls".
"We have to have a secure network that doesn't allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don't take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business," he said.
But Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, slammed the threats, saying that China doesn't condone hacking.
"We believe that the international community should, on the basis of mutual respect and trust, strengthen dialogue and cooperation and join hands in addressing the threat of cyber attacks," she said. µ
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