US officials revealed a plan to accelerate their deployment of 5G wireless networks with new funding estimated at $20.4 billion to build high-speed internet in rural areas.
At a White House event, the plans were unveiled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to host new spectrum auctions for 5G technology which aims to “improve Americans’ lives in so many ways” according to FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
“From precision agriculture to smart transportation networks to telemedicine and more, we want Americans to be the first to benefit from this new digital revolution, while protecting our innovators and citizens; and we don’t want rural Americans to be left behind.”
This announcement of their new plans comes amid a global race by several countries that are looking to deploy the new technology which ensures wireless network speeds of 10 to 100 times faster than the currently available system.
Harold Feld from the consumer group Public Knowledge has stated that it is still unclear whether the funding for rural broadband would come from an existing program or it is new investment.
“Is the administration promising to provide new money for rural broadband through existing authority, or is the administration going to need to ask Congress to provide new money?” asked Feld in a statement.
South Korea recently launched its first nationwide 5G network while the US has begun to rollout the technology in some regions. China also seems to be moving quickly with this rollout process.
There have been growing frustrations between the US and Chinese Tech giant Huawei over this technology as they are currently in the midst of a legal battle. The US has accused the tech giant of using 5G technology to spy on the West. Huawei is currently the largest supplier of 5G networking equipment and due to the concerns the US has raised, Australia has banned Huawei from rolling out their equipment. No new information was offered on the actions the US government intends to take on Chinese tech giant.
The US government’s announcement confirms that the country will rely solely upon private networks regardless of the speculation surrounding the nationalization of 5G on national security grounds.
US President Donald Trump has said that the 5G rollout is a priority.
“American companies must lead the world in cellular technology.
“5G networks must be secured. They must be strong. They have to be guarded from the enemy. We do have enemies out there,” he said.