John Hendel

How National 5G Policy Became Chaotic

President Donald Trump says he wants America to win the race to the fast new wireless future. He took it seriously enough to sign a presidential memorandum setting a deadline of July 2019 for a new national strategy on allocating the airwaves. That deadline came and went with no strategy in sight. In September, a Commerce Department undersecretary promised that the strategy was still on the way, telling a gathering of government officials that it would be released in the fall. A Commerce official said that the department did indeed deliver a draft to the White House.

Questions for Robert Blair, Trump’s Point Man on 5G

A Q&A with Robert Blair, senior advisor to the White House Chief of Staff. His new challenge: help further Trump’s global aims on 5G, including an ongoing campaign to prevent America’s allies from relying on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. “One of the messages that I want to bring to people is: Take a breath,” Blair says. “The Chinese are not winning this race.”

The 5G World: What People Care About

It’ll be years before most people have 5G phones and a super-fast network to connect them, but the future of mobile technology is shaping up right now. Behind the promises lie some big government decisions about what to prioritize, how to compete, and how fast to move. As citizens and consumers, whether they know it or not, people are being asked to weigh convenience against privacy, national competitiveness against national security, and speed against price.

The Pentagon Is Sitting on a Chunk of Valuable Airwaves. Why?

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.

Lawmakers Still Want to Shape FCC's 5G Auction

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.

Senate impasse on Huawei

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).

Making Waves Over Airwaves

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 Leaves FCC

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 torch President Trump failures on rural digital divide

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.

FCC Gets Earful on Facebook, Twitter

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.