Referencing Newt Gingrich’s recent report regarding 5G technology, Alejandro Chafuen, Acton’s Managing Director, International, commented this morning in Forbes on the technology and its relation to free markets. Chafuen argues that a new, less centralized approach to wireless networking would be a source of great benefit both for individual consumers and for the United States on the world stage.
On May 6, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich delivered a lengthy report to the United States Congress. The report, “5G: America at a Tipping Point,” presents a frightening scenario: “Imagine a world within a decade in which Chinese totalitarian rules are applied to the Internet, your cell phone is monitored by Beijing, your search engine is censored by Chinese authorities, and your facial identity is tracked around the world and archived in China. This world is incredibly likely if we continue to be confused and disorganized in building a 5G Internet system.”
5G is a is a wireless networking architecture that aims to increase data communication speeds up to 20 times faster than its predecessor, 4G. It also allows connections for more than 200 additional devices per square mile than 4G. This would lead to increased connectivity affecting most aspects of our life. It also concomitantly increases the risks of potential harm due to software and hardware vulnerabilities, as well as risks of abuse by those who have the best access. In this case, the fear is that the Chinese government will become the biggest abuser.
Gingrich’s report is full of technical details and provides an outstanding overview of the technology and what is at stake. It concludes that “the selection and allocation of specific bands of spectrum is the key to American victory in the race to 5G wireless capability. The United States is losing the 5G competition to China because we are allocating the wrong spectrum and using the wrong model.” What follows is my effort to call for a change of mind on how we approach the spectrum “market.”