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Sen. Cruz Raises Concerns of Nationalizing 5G in Commerce Hearing

NTIA Administrator Redl advises against nationalizing 5G

June 14, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, participated in a hearing entitled: ‘Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration,’ where he questioned National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator David Redl on reports of the Administration’s potential plans to nationalize 5G networks. John Hendel, a reporter for Politico, highlighted Sen. Cruz’s line of questioning in the hearing, noting Mr. Redl’s answer marked, “the first time an official at a Cabinet-level agency has publicly rejected the idea floated in the White House.” 

Sen. Cruz penned a bipartisan letter to administration officials earlier this year urging them to consider free market proposals, arguing that nationalizing 5G, “will only have a chilling effect on private investment and result in a radical shift in the management of our nation’s telecommunication’s networks.”

“The United States is in a global race against China and other countries to be the global leader in deploying next generation 5G mobile broadband network which has the potential to boost our annual GDP by up to $500 billion and create 3 million new jobs,” Sen. Cruz said. “That’s why it was concerning this past January when a memo leaked from the National Security Council which called for nationalizing 5G mobile broadband networks.”

Watch Sen. Cruz’s line of questioning to Mr. Redl regarding the potential nationalization of 5G here. A transcript is below:

Sen. Cruz: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Redl, welcome. As you know, the United States is in a global race against China and other countries to be the global leader in deploying next generation 5G mobile broadband network which has the potential to boost our annual GDP by up to $500 billion and create 3 million new jobs. That’s why it was concerning this past January when a memo leaked from the National Security Council which called for nationalizing 5G mobile broadband networks. Since the memo leaked five months ago the Administration has declined to explicitly foreclose nationalizing 5G. In fact, just last week, President Trump’s campaign manager tweeted about the need for a single 5G network. A tweet that I found concerning. Mr. Redl, in your current position, you are principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy. In your judgement should the United States be nationalizing any aspects of our 5G networks? 

Mr. Redl: Senator, I appreciate the question. I have spent my entire career working to promote competitive and innovative wireless networks and wireless services. And at NTIA we are focused on that goal. Making sure that we have enough spectrum for all of our wireless providers to provide 5G. And while I am not the ultimate decision maker inside the executive branch, as the Administrator of NTIA, that’s the way we’re moving forward. 

Sen. Cruz: So if I understand you correctly, you believe it would be a bad idea to nationalize 5G. Is that correct?

Mr. Redl: My advice to the president would be that we should not move forward and nationalize 5G. 

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