White House report calls out 5G as part of infrastructure push

A new report from the White House lumps 5G alongside airports, roads and railways as an element in America’s infrastructure that will receive attention and improvements.

The 5G callout is included under a section that lists the administration’s “priority actions.”

“Federal, state and local governments will work together with private industry to improve our airports, seaports and waterways, roads and railways, transit systems, and telecommunications,” the report states. “The United States will use our strategic advantage as a leading natural gas producer to transform transportation and manufacturing. We will improve America’s digital infrastructure by deploying a secure 5G internet capability nationwide. These improvements will increase national competitiveness, benefit the environment and improve our quality of life.”

To read the full report, scroll down to the bottom of this article. As TechCrunch noted, the National Security Strategy report is mandated by Congress.

The inclusion of 5G in a discussion of infrastructure is noteworthy considering the wireless industry has made a similar argument in recent months. Indeed, top executives from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and other firms met with President Donald Trump to discuss 5G and other technologies earlier this summer.

Further, the wireless industry in general has urged the White House and other regulators to make it easier for to deploy small cells, fiber and other elements of 5G. Those in the industry have said that local regulations prohibiting the deployment of such hardware on street lights and other city infrastructure have slowed the deployment of high-speed wireless technologies, and threaten to delay the rollout of 5G. That could well be a particular concern to Trump, as countries including China rush forward with massive 5G deployments—deployments driven in part by government requirements.

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Partly in response, the FCC has pledged to ease such 5G deployment obstacles.

Although 5G was lumped into the report’s discussion of American infrastructure, other cutting-edge technologies were included in a list of the White House’s efforts to improve America’s position in research and innovation.

“To maintain our competitive advantage, the United States will prioritize emerging technologies critical to economic growth and security, such as data science, encryption, autonomous technologies, gene editing, new materials, nanotechnology, advanced computing technologies and artificial intelligence,” the report said. “From self-driving cars to autonomous weapons, the field of artificial intelligence, in particular, is progressing rapidly.”

In other noteworthy items in the White House report, the document pledges to retain a “free and open internet.”

“The United States will advocate for open, interoperable communications, with minimal barriers to the global exchange of information and services,” the document states.

The FCC this month voted to remove net neutrality guidelines that critics worry will pave the way for telecom companies to institute “fast lanes” and other obstacles to internet access.