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The Trump Network? 5G could be nationalised by US government

America’s next-generation 5G network could be owned and operated by the United States government, according to leaked plans.

Documents obtained by Axios outline National Security Council (NSC) plans to guard against Chinese cyberattacks by bringing at least a portion of the 5G network in-house.

The memo and powerpoint presentation reportedly shown to “senior” Trump administration members controlling the airwaves would make it easier to guard against attacks.

One option would be for the US government to pay for and build the network, another would be to rent access to services provided by existing carriers.

The Axios report calls the first option “an unprecedented nationalisation of a historically private infrastructure.”

Related: 5G in the UK

The memo, dubbed “the 21st century equivalent of the Eisenhower National Highway System” argues that the network build must be undertaken quickly and be operational within three years.

That’s because “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure,” and “China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain.”

It argues that the centralised system would be important in safeguarding things like self-driving cars and virtual reality systems. There’s also a suggestion that, once in place, the US could export the tech to help other nations protect against Chinese activity.

“Eventually,” the memo says, “this effort could help inoculate developing countries against Chinese neo-colonial behaviour.”

Given the key US networks, like AT&T and Verizon are already well along with their plans for 5G and it’s still a few years away from a roll out, it’s highly unlikely the government has the ability to get a solution in place so quickly.

Does this sound like a safeguard? Or another blatant example of the NSC making a grab for Americans’ communications? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

 

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