There’s an interesting debate brewing on these pages between former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr on how to make the move to super-fast 5G wireless networks and how to protect America in the process.
By way of background, I founded the House Internet Caucus back when Gingrich was speaker. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on very much, but I welcomed his occasional interest in technology.
On this issue, though, he is wrong, and Commissioner Carr is right. The best — really the only — way to ensure the fastest possible deployment of 5G technology and to preserve American leadership in wireless is to follow the path that has driven American leadership in 4G. The private sector, not the government, must take the lead, and the primary government role should be to continue selling 5G spectrum to the private sector at auction.
In January of last year, it was reported that the Trump administration was considering, in effect, nationalizing at least part of the 5G spectrum by having one government-owned network. This poorly considered idea was rejected the very next day by the administration’s own FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. We all hoped that the notion had been squelched.
Now, however, Gingrich has revived the controversy, first with a piece widely interpreted as favoring nationalization and then in his response to Commissioner Carr here at NRO. In the latter article, Gingrich calls for a “public-private partnership [with] shared spectrum available for a carrier-neutral, wholesale-only, nationwide 5G network.”
Originally published at National Review