FCC to hold huge 5G spectrum auction, spend $20B for rural internet

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"We want Americans to be the first to benefit from this new digital revolution while protecting our innovators and our citizens", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

5G will mean faster wireless speeds and has implications for technologies like self-driving cars and augmented reality.

A wireless trade organization says the U.S. Already leads the world in 5G and President Trump says he wants that to continue.

We believe that the security and reliability of 5G is absolutely important, not just as a matter of national competitiveness, but also as a matter of national security, [.] I have been very encouraged by my conversations with European allies [.] about the importance of security and 5G networks.

Pai explained the technologies should give the US a "leg up" as the USA competes around the world.

President Trump also dismissed a former potential strategy, developed by a former National Security Council senior official, Rob Spalding, to get the government more involved in securing 5G throughout development. "We don't want to do that, because it won't be almost as good, almost as fast". He pointed out that US allies understand the importance of having a secure 5G network, and "the risk profile of certain equipment and services". The FTC has sued the American company over anti-competitive pricing, according to technology analyst Patrick Morehead.

"Qualcomm is the country's only hope for 5G and 6G leadership and with the FTC about to potentially hobble it, the USA will never be a leader, China will", predicted Morehead, a former industry executive.

Officials offered no new information on what if any actions it would take to block the Chinese tech giant Huawei - the largest supplier of networking equipment from 5G systems in the US.

FILE - Attendees take pictures of the new Huawei Mate X foldable 5G smartphone during the Mobile World Congress wireless show, in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2019.

The FCC since March 2018 has also been considering rules to bar the use of funds from a government program to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose a security threat to USA communications networks. He added that the USA approach to developing its 5G networks is private sector driven and private sector led.

For more than a year, the White House has been mulling an executive order that would direct the Commerce Department to block US companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunications makers that pose significant national security risks, Reuters reported in December. Since November 2018, the FCC has auctioned 1,550 megahertz of spectrum for use by commercial wireless providers. Its capacity is higher but coverage is lower than the mid-band spectrum. Pai said consideration is "ongoing" without offering a deadline for a decision.

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