President Trump has signed off on a memo directing the creation of a national spectrum strategy for keeping the United States at the forefront of 5G wireless network technology, a move the administration says is vital for the good of the economy and national security.
The memo, released Thursday, directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to work with federal agencies and policymakers to craft a national spectrum strategy within nine months, and provide a series of reports on the matter starting in six months. The memo also nullifies two Obama-era memos related to 5G networks, ones administration officials claim are already out of date. The ultimate goal, those officials said in a conference call with reporters Thursday, is to ensure Americans everywhere have access to 5G networks and make sure other nations don't overtake the United States' progress.
"As the National Security Strategy of 2017 made clear, access to spectrum is a critical component of the technological capabilities that enable economic activity and protect national security," the president's memo reads. "Wireless communications and associated data applications establish a foundation for high‑wage jobs and national prosperity. While American industry continues to extract greater and greater value from spectrum, each technological leap also increases demands on its usage."
That task force will be co-chaired by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Economic Council, but also includes the Office of Management and Budget, the National Security Council, the National Space Council, and the Council of Economic Advisers.
The implementation of 5G will bring cellular connections that are up to 100 times faster than 4G, CNET notes. Networks will have greater capacity, and there will be less latency, which will bring technology like self-driving cars and enhanced VR a step closer to reality.
The memo doesn't provide any new funding, or indicate any future requests to Congress to provide more funding. The plan, administration officials officials said, relies heavily on the private sector to expand 5G networks. At this point, there is no plan to nationalize 5G networks.