Americans Understand the 5G Race, a Race We Must Win
As Americans, there are many things we disagree on. These disagreements can range anywhere from one’s favorite football team to more complicated and complex public policy issues. But, we can all agree on striving for a safe and secure country, a prosperous economy, and a bright future for our children and grandchildren. That’s why we need to ensure that we take advantage of emerging technologies, like 5G.
5G Action Now, a new advocacy organization I chair, commissioned a poll that found Americans understand the importance of 5G more than policymakers give them credit for. For starters, 90% of Americans believe that wireless technology has improved their lives, and 80% are excited about 5G and how it will affect their lives.
This is not just about faster download speeds, as nice as those will be. The race against China for 5G is about the Internet of Things, smart devices, increased connectivity, and smarter living. Look at how smartphones have changed our lives. Now imagine what we will be able to achieve with widespread sensors in your home, at work, or in your car; sensors that generate incredible amounts of data, offering insights into patterns into how we can improve our health, increase energy efficiency, and make daily life safer.
Getting 5G right is a fundamental issue for America, not one of partisan politics or bureaucratic wrangling. According to our polling, which asked registered voters across the nation, America agrees.: the 5G race needs to be a priority.
If we win this race, we will ensure America’s national security and a bright economic future for years to come. If, however, we let 5G get bogged down in partisan debates, you can be sure that China will happily define the 5G future to suit their best interest.
5G Action Now’s poll demonstrates that 84% of Americans believe it is important that we win the 5G race against China. Additionally, 74% said that Huawei is a fundamental threat to our national and economic security—a threat I have been warning America about since 2012 as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. If China achieves digital dominance, they will make the rules for us. Do you think these rules would consider the best interest of America? I certainly don’t.
To achieve that dominance, Beijing wants to own 5G—own its standards, own its technology, and own it from start to finish. That’s something we just can’t afford, no matter how cheap their technology may be. To stop that future, we need to make policy decisions that unleash American innovation, encourage research and development, and tap into the wellspring of our country’s creativity.
A critical step toward this is allowing a public auction of the spectrum (C-band, specifically). Prioritizing an auction in 2020 will enable wireless operators to quickly deploy the 5G infrastructure that will enable the next generation of our country’s tech leadership. Opening up this spectrum will allow the swift rollout of 5G technology and turn on the faucet of innovation. Think of spectrum this way: right now, a portion of the highway is locked up. That three-lane road is blocked down to just one. If we open up the highway, or in this case the spectrum, our economy will move a lot faster.
Getting 5G right is critical for our country’s national and economic security. Successfully rolling out nationwide 5G will spur innovation and growth, and create new jobs and industries. Americans understand that 5G is not a left or right issue, it is an American issue. If we solve this issue and execute the public auction in 2020, we, and not China, will define the future.
Mike Rogers is the Chairman of 5G Action Now. He is also the former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.