09.30.20

Gardner, Colleagues Urge President Trump to Reject Efforts to Nationalize 5G Network

“We strongly urge you to remain on the free-market path you have articulated, a path that will enable the United States to win the global 5G race.”

Washington, D.C. — Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) sent a letter with 18 of his U.S. Senate colleagues to President Trump applauding the administration’s successful efforts to empower the private sector to build multiple 5G networks. The senators also expressed concerns regarding a request for information that was released by the U.S. Department of Defense that contradicts the successful free-market strategy that has embraced 5G.

“Nationalizing 5G and experimenting with untested models for 5G deployment is not the way the United States will win the 5G race,” the senators wrote. “While we recognize the need for secure communications networks for our military, we are concerned that such a proposal threatens our national security. When bad actors only need to penetrate one network, they have a greater likelihood of disrupting the United States’ communications services.

“As you stated in August, ‘[s]ecure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21stcentury.’ We strongly urge you to remain on the free-market path you have articulated, a path that will enable the United States to win the global 5G race.”

Joining Gardner in sending the letter were U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Todd Young (R-IN).

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear President Trump:

We are writing to commend you for your leadership in helping the United States win the global race for the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology and networks.  The United States led the world in in the deployment of fourth-generation wireless (4G) services resulting in national and economic security benefits.  The race to 5G may hold even greater significance for America’s future, especially as we compete with China for dominance in the 5G ecosystem.

We agree with you that “[t]he race to 5G is a race America must win” and that “[w]e cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future.”  The United States won the global 4G race because we empowered the private sector to build multiple competitive 4G networks by freeing up the necessary spectrum and eliminating unnecessary regulations.  Because of that, today the United States benefits from multiple wireless carriers engaged in a race to deploy 5G networks nationwide, and hundreds of smaller and regional companies serving their communities.  We agree with you that the United States should adopt the same successful model for 5G.  As you stated, “[i]n the United States, our approach is private-sector driven and private-sector led.”

As a result, we write today to express our concerns about a Request For Information (RFI) released by the Department of Defense (DoD) that contradicts the successful free-market strategy you have embraced for 5G.  Rather than rely on private industry and market forces to foster multiple, facilities-based 5G networks, the RFI seeks information on a government-managed process for 5G networks.

Nationalizing 5G and experimenting with untested models for 5G deployment is not the way the United States will win the 5G race.  While we recognize the need for secure communications networks for our military, we are concerned that such a proposal threatens our national security.  When bad actors only need to penetrate one network, they have a greater likelihood of disrupting the United States’ communications services.

As you stated in August, “[s]ecure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century.”  We strongly urge you to remain on the free-market path you have articulated, a path that will enable the United States to win the global 5G race.

We look forward to continuing working with you to bolster the private-sector’s deployment of 5G networks.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.