Former Google CEO urges US action on 5G infrastructure

5G News

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt warned the US could lose out on the economic benefits of 5G leadership if politicians do not take urgent action to boost network infrastructure deployments in the country.

In an opinion article for Financial Times, Schmidt argued the high cost of the country’s record-breaking C-Band (3.7GHz to 4.2GHz) auction was a “digital setback that America and its allies can ill-afford”, and urged Congress to implement “aggressive, innovative strategies” to speed rollouts of next-generation infrastructure.

Specifically, he called on politicians to distribute proceeds from the auction to states to help fund network expansion; incorporate network construction requirements for winning bidders in future auctions; and explore other ways to incentivise rapid rollouts, including through spectrum sharing agreements.

“Investing in 5G mobile telecommunications networks should be an urgent priority of the US and its allies, particularly as the main geostrategic rival, China, is already far ahead.”

US telecom industry groups and politicians previously stressed the need to beat China in the race to deploy 5G, but focused their efforts on freeing more spectrum for operators.

Schmidt’s comments on the auction echoed warnings from analysts last month that excessive spectrum costs could slow 5G deployments and raise service costs for consumers.


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