Conservative Groups Back GOP Pushback on Nationalized 5G

5G graphic
(Image credit: Future)

More than 40 center right groups led by Grover Norquist and the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) have written Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) supporting his opposition to a government role in the nation's 5G network.

Thune led his own letter from a group of Senate Republicans to President Trump last week taking strong issue with a Trump Administration (Defense Department) request for input on a government-managed 5G network. DOD is concerned about the cybersecurity of the network given that 5G will be the platform for an Internet of Things-connected world with billions of devices.

Related: Pai Opposes Nationalized 5G Net

The groups are concerned that the input request is essentially window dressing on a request for proposal (RFP) DOD is already committed to.

"We write to thank you for your recent letter supporting the American competitive approach to 5G deployment, which is private sector driven and private sector led," said ATR and company. "We agree that nationalizing 5G and experimenting with untested models for 5G deployment is not the way the United States wins the 5G race. Deployment of 5G should not rely on the government but should focus on unleashing the private sector and the free market. 

"We too are concerned with the Department of Defense Request for Information on a government-managed process for 5G development and are alarmed with how quickly it is proceeding.2 Even more disturbing are the rumors3 that the RFI was only for show and that the DoD already has an RFP it plans to greenlight."

Amid similar concerns last year about nationalizing the net to ensure its security from foreign attacks, the President signaled that he favored a private sector-driven approach.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.