The 5G system would be "the equivalent of the Eisenhower National Highway System.” The move is being considered by Trump national security officials according to documents obtained by the Axios website.
The federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile network would guard against China becoming the dominant player in that area, says Axios.
The U.S. has to build superfast 5G wireless technology quickly because “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” and “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain, according to the documents.
Two options that are laid out:
1. The U.S. government pays for and builds the single network — which would be an unprecedented nationalization of a historically private infrastructure.
2. An alternative plan where wireless providers build their own 5G networks that compete with one another — though the document says the downside is it could take longer and cost more. It argues that one of the “pros” of that plan is that it would cause “less commercial disruption” to the wireless industry than the government building a network.
Sources say Option 2 is really no option at all: a single centralized network is what's required to protect America against China and other bad actors. The source said the internal White House debate will be over whether the U.S. government owns and builds the network or whether the carriers bind together in a consortium to build the network, an idea that would require them to put aside their business models to serve the country's greater good.
The bigger picture: The memo argues that a strong 5G network is needed in order to create a secure pathway for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and virtual reality — and to combat Chinese threats to America’s economic and cyber security.
A PowerPoint slide says the play is the digital counter to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative meant to spread its influence beyond its borders.