WASHINGTON (AP) – The US government will hold a large auction later this year to strengthen the 5G service, the next generation of mobile phone networks. President Donald Trump presented the announcement Friday, stating that the race to defend these faster and more powerful networks is a competition "America must win".
"We can not allow any other country to override the United States in this powerful industry of the future," Trump told the White House. "We are running so many things in so many different industries of this type, and we just can not let that happen."
Trump also announced a $ 20 billion plan to expand broadband access in rural areas that currently lack it, extending the existing program.
5G means faster wireless speeds and implications for technologies such as autonomous cars and augmented reality. Trump said it will transform the way people work, learn, communicate and travel, making farms more productive, manufacturers more competitive, and health care better and more accessible. But experts say it's hard to know now how much life will actually change because of the very popular upgrade of the network.
It will take years to deploy and the speeds and the highest data capacity may not reach rural areas.
The deployment began last week in the United States and South Korea, but will take years.
The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that it will hold the largest bid in US history to boost wireless networks. The auction is scheduled for Dec. 10 and will be the agency's third for 5G, said FCC President Ajit Pai, who joined Trump for the announcement.
"We want the Americans to be the first to benefit from this new digital revolution," said Pai.
The United States is fighting for China's position on 5G. He has effectively banned Huawei, a Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, from entering most US networks, fearing to allow espionage by the Chinese government, which Huawei denies. The United States has pushed its allies to do the same, with mixed results. Huawei is the world's largest manufacturer of such equipment.
FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, criticized the agency 's approach to 5G on Friday. She added that the US had not auctioned a spectrum of "medium" better suited to rural areas because of the scope of the signals, and that the Trump administration's actions on 5G have roll back ". She cited tariffs on telecom equipment that increased costs and said that the administration had "alienated allies" on the issue of 5G security.
The FCC also announced Friday that it would renew its current $ 2 billion broadband subsidy program for 10 years. It will provide approximately $ 20.4 billion over ten years to suppliers, with the goal of connecting up to 4 million rural households and small businesses to high-speed Internet.
The agency has spent $ 34.5 billion in rural broadband subsidy programs from 2010 to 2017, according to the Government Accountability Office.
It is more expensive for telecommunication companies to serve dispersed rural areas than cities and suburbs. The government gives them subsidies to encourage them to set up Internet networks in rural areas of the country. According to FCC figures, some 24 million Americans did not have broadband internet access by the end of 2016.
Arbel reported from New York. Associated Press writer Kevin Freking, Washington, contributed to this report.