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GOP senators call on Trump to oppose nationalizing 5G

A group of 19 senators is calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus 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 ThuneSenate passes spending bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline The Hill’s Morning Report – Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate Meeting Trump Supreme Court pick a bridge too far for some Democrats 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.”

GOP Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoEnergy innovation bill can deliver jobs and climate progress Trump’s Teflon problem: Nothing sticks, including the ‘wins’ Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline MORE (Wyo.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoCongress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out Second GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure MORE (W.Va.), John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators pan debate: ‘S—show,’ ‘awful,’ ’embarrassment’ Preventing next pandemic requires new bill’s global solutions Big donors fund state parties at record levels MORE (Texas), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as ‘totally brilliant’ The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose MORE (Wis.), and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP online donor platform offering supporters ‘Notorious A.C.B.’ shirts Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power 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.

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