Leaked memo raises questions about US government’s role in speeding next-gen 5G
But Tom Struble, technology policy manager at the free market think tank R Street, said in an interview that there are other actions the federal government could take to help facilitate 5G that the wireless industry would welcome. Next-generation networks will rely on the deployment of hundreds of thousands of small cells, or cellular base stations and antennas frequently the size of pizza boxes. CTIA and others have called on the federal government to require more efficient siting rules for the installation of these small cells, streamlining the myriad of local and state ordinances that impact installations.
“I think a federal piece of legislation preempting all state and local regulations that have the effect of discouraging broadband deployment would be a massive step in the right direction,” Struble said.
Struble emphasized that while the federal government has a role in speeding 5G deployment, that role should not involve the construction and management of a national centralized network. “That’s the outcome here that scares everybody here and me also. I really don’t want the government to build … a new nationwide monopoly network, a 5G version of Ma Bell,” he said, referring to the Bell System of telephone companies that was broken up by the U.S. Justice Department in the 1980s.
“A Republican administration should not be giving up on the private market and investing billions of public dollars into a nationwide network,” Struble said.