In the race to dominate 5G, the Pentagon is the force causing the most concern. The most coveted piece of spectrum is the “mid-band,” a set of frequencies that can carry far more data than current cellphone signals. Since the 1960s, rights over much of the mid-band have been claimed by government agencies, most notably the Department of Defense, which says it needs to use mid-band waves for research and military communications.
Vice President Mike Pence (R-IN) and White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow have both prominently endorsed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan for auctioning off the 5G-friendly C-band airwaves, and this GOP support could dim congressional Republican interest in legislative deal-making. But prominent Democrats and Republicans who wanted to legislate say there’s still a chance.
Over a month has passed since Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) blocked Senate Commerce Chairman Roger Wicker’s attempt to fast-track a House-passed bill, H.R. 4998, authorizing $1 billion to reimburse rural wireless carriers that replace gear from companies deemed a national security risk (i.e., Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE).
Senate Commerce Committee leaders aren’t happy that the Senate Appropriations Committee stuck some controversial 5G directives in their Federal Communication Commission funding bill report. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) said they’re concerned the report, particularly its wireless airwaves recommendations, treads on their turf. The plea evidently had no effect, however; the measure advanced with the 5G language in question.
Nathan Leamer, policy adviser to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, has left the agency after nearly three years. Leamer is taking up a new role at Targeted Victory. That's the Arlington-based firm once called "the biggest player in Republican digital politics." It's headed by Zac Moffatt, who made his name as the digital director of the 2012 Romney presidential campaign.
Democrats are offering President Donald Trump's rural supporters a reason to turn against him in 2020 — his failure to bring them the high-speed internet he promised.
While the White House created its hotline for social media bias tips, frustrated consumers had already turned to the Federal Communications Commission to lodge grievances about online platforms — despite the agency’s lack of jurisdiction over tech companies. Since 2018, more than 100 people filed complaints alleging bias or censorship from Facebook, Twitter or Google. The bulk of the complaints were aimed at Facebook and Twitter from self-identified conservatives, although some also complained about Google and YouTube.
Karl Rove isn't a registered lobbyist, but he is actively working Capitol Hill on one side of the 5G wireless fight that has split President Donald Trump's advisers. The veteran Republican operative has been contacting congressional offices to warn against bipartisan efforts to ban government control of the super-fast wireless technology. Rove also sat in on meetings with House and Senate Armed Services committee offices organized by a lobbyist for Rivada Networks, a politically connected company that wants the government to manage the sharing of 5G airwaves with wireless providers.
According to a series of letters from Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons to US senators, the agency is planning to launch a wide-ranging study of tech companies' data practices. He wrote that the FTC is planning to conduct a so-called 6(b) study, which the agency has previously applied to data brokers and businesses accused of abusing the federal patent system. He suggested the study would target large tech firms but didn't specifically name companies like Google, Facebook or Amazon.
President Donald Trump's reelection team is backing a controversial plan to give the government a role in managing America's next-generation 5G wireless networks — bucking the free market consensus view of his own administration and sparking wireless industry fears of nationalization. The plan — embraced by Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale and adviser Newt Gingrich — would involve the government taking 5G airwaves and designing a system to allow for sharing them on a wholesale basis with wireless providers.