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GOP senators call on Trump to oppose nationalizing 5G

GOP senators call on Trump to oppose nationalizing 5G
© Greg Nash

A group of 19 senators is calling on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud DOJ asks for outside lawyer to review Giuliani evidence MORE to bolster private-sector deployment of 5G, expressing concerns about a request for information from the administration that they felt contradicted a free-market strategy.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base GOP wrestles with role of culture wars in party's future MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, led a letter to Trump on Wednesday following a recent request for information (RFI) released by the Pentagon regarding 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,” the senators wrote. “Nationalizing 5G and experimenting with untested models for 5G deployment is not the way the United States will win the 5G race.”

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GOP Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoRepublican seeks to use Obama energy policies to criticize Biden  EPA proposes major rule to reduce certain greenhouse gases Republicans hammer Biden on infrastructure while administration defends plan MORE (Wyo.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBusiness groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Can Cheney defy the odds and survive again? Biden, GOP set to find out if US wants activist government MORE (W.Va.), John CornynJohn CornynCornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan MORE (Texas), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna Vaccine hesitancy among lawmakers slows return to normalcy on Capitol Hill FBI was aware Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence campaign ahead of 2020 election: report MORE (Wis.), and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCrist launches bid for Florida governor, seeking to recapture his old job The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Trump, Cheney trade jabs Rubio keeping door open on White House bid MORE (Fla.), among others, also signed the letter.

The Defense Department issued the RFI on Sept. 18 from industry, seeking insight into accelerating spectrum sharing and 5G deployment.

“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,” they wrote. 

The senators also urged Trump in the letter to remain on a free-market path to enable the U.S. to win the global 5G race. 

The Federal Communications Commission said this month it will approve use of mid-band spectrum solely for 5G, although the Pentagon said in August that mid-band spectrum will be available for 5G “by the end of the summer.” 

The Defense Department has several locations for 5G testing and experimentation.

“DoD recognizes that industry is driving 5G technology with massive investments in the many hundreds of billions of dollars. Because of that, DoD is working closely with industry partners to leverage those investments for military applications,” DoD official Joseph Evans said at a press conference in June.