When people talk about the next frontier of network technology being 5G, it is hard for most to understand what that really means. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless infrastructure that is far faster than the commonly used 4G of today. In layman’s terms, 5G will speed up internet in a way that will allow for even more technological advances that keep us one step ahead of China in these things. The biggest problem that has confronted a 5G expansion is that our own Department of Commerce is sitting on approval of mid-level spectrum that is needed by private enterprise to implement an advanced 5G network.
One very important way for the United States to stay head of China on the world economic battlefield is to get and stay ahead of them with technology. China has 9 of the 20 biggest tech companies in the world with Alibaba being the biggest. The U.S. dominates that space thanks to Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook. The American free market has helped to keep our nation ahead of the government-controlled economy in China, yet there are forces in the U.S. government through incompetence and flat out cronyism who are allowing China to catch up.
One area of the battlefield has been on the president’s efforts to leverage a better trade relationship with China through the use of tariffs. Secretary of the Commerce Wilbur Ross has been President Donald J. Trump’s point man on this fight. CNBC reported on January 7, 2019, “In early December, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a tariff cease-fire, giving both sides until March to reach agreement on trade issues, including what the U.S. calls forced technology transfers. Trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies escalated last year. The U.S. announced tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while Beijing countered with its own.” Secretary Ross declared that China faces a “binary decision,” on whether to continue the trade war or to make a new deal with the United States.
While great progress has been made to get China to the negotiating table by Secretary Ross, his own Department of Commerce has fallen flat on their face when it comes to the idea that the government needs to get out of the way of the private sector. A slow down of 5G will slow, according to MIT an “entirely new wireless infrastructure to achieve speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G and promises to nearly eliminate any processing delays” and “the internet of things, since it was designed to connect billions of machines, appliances, and sensors at low cost without draining their batteries.” The Department of Commerce’s own National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has applications to release mid-level spectrum needed to deploy 5G that they are not releasing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for public use.
Better trade deals with China are good, but why can’t our own government be working to help private companies in the U.S. to compete with Chinese tech companies that are growing and using 5G quicker than us? Makes no sense.
One problem at Commerce is that they seem to have hired some individuals who are on the same page as former President Obama on tech issues. Politico reported on May 18 , 2018 that a high ranking Commerce official, Earl Comstock, was fighting to keep the Obama era Net Neutrality rules in place contrary to the wishes of President Trump. While the FCC fought a battle to repeal government control of internet speeds through so called “Net Neutrality,” a saboteur within the Department of Commerce was undermining that effort.
Reports indicate that China is beating the United States in the deployment of 5G. Somehow the U.S. is behind both China and South Korea in the deployment of 5G and one reason is because the U.S. government is stonewalling the licensing of new spectrum to make it easier to deploy faster speed connectivity.
The American people elected President Trump to make the American economy great again, yet some people have snuck into this administration who hold the same views of the Obama Administration favoring regulation and obstructionism. It is important for the U.S. to beat China with better trade deals and with better technologies aided by a free market mentality that is absent in China.