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Starks: Race to 5G Could Bypass No-Gs

For all the talk about the U.S. winning the race to 5G, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks is concerned that the country will race right by with no-G.

In a speech at Georgetown University, Starks, the newest member of the commission, said he wanted to lay down a market on one of the most important issues the country faces. That is getting broadband to the over 24 million without access to broadband at any speed.

Starks said he feared the transition to 5G was also a transition from a digital divide to an "internet inequality."

Related: FCC's Carr: 5G Buildout Key to His T-Mobile-Sprint Support

"I am worried about a world where those with much get even more, and everyone else gets left behind," he said.

He said the consequences are that the disconnected are disaffected and the country's global competitiveness is compromised. "Towns without broadband struggle to create or retain businesses and jobs, and few new businesses will move to a town that isn’t connected," he said.

He also said internet inequality is a threat to democracy. "The widening chasm of broadband haves and have-nots threatens central and core notions of our shared culture as Americans," he said. "It is pulling us apart when it should, by its very nature, connect us. That is to say, the persistently uneven distribution of who is connected is not healthy for our democracy."