Augusta Free Press

5G, or not 5G? That is the question

There are obvious flaws to a proposal to create a centralized nationwide 5G network within three years, says a Virginia Tech expert.

Professor Jeff Reed says the barriers include that taxpayers would not pay for it, that it could stifle competition, and that there would likely be a lack of cooperation from providers.

“The slow start of FirstNet, the nationwide public safety network is an example of the government trying to build a 4G network, that is a small fraction of the size needed for 5G, and the deployment has gone very slowly,” said Reed, who has served as an advisor to the FCC and 30+ organizations including in AT&T and T-Mobile during the merger, and is currently coauthoring a book on 5G.

“We can’t afford this to happen with 5G. It would be very harmful for the economy.”

FCC chairman Ajit Pai also made a statement opposing the idea.

“I think convening the industry to study best practices for security would be good,” said Reed, the Willis G. Worcester Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. “I think government can play a role in setting this up to avoid collusion and can be a good force for transparency and educating the public on being a wise consumer. They may even rank carriers by how well they do in implementing security and make this information available to consumers.”