By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) - After a leaked document revealed a plan by the White House to build a nationalized 5G network, government officials said Monday a decision on the concept had not yet been made.
News outlet Axios published documents, including a PowerPoint presentation, from a President Donald Trump’s National Security Council official that outlined a plan to build a government-owned, secure 5G network across the country.
The documents framed the plan in national security terms with one memo emphasizing it was crucial to build a network that would be safe from interference from the Chinese government.
Pressed about the documents during a briefing Monday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said nothing had yet been decided.
“Right now we’re in the very earliest stages of the conversation," she told reporters. “There are absolutely no decisions made on what that would look like, what role anyone would play in it. Simply the need for a secure network.”
The documents revealed two options to build a nationalized wireless network within three years. One option would be to build it as a federal project and the other would be to allow wireless companies to build competing networks – although an official told Axios the second option was not ideal.
The memo outlines a timeline where the plan is furiously criticized by the wireless industry and aggressively debated within Trump’s own administration for the next six to eight months.
The idea was immediately criticized by Trump’s head of the Federal Communications Commission.
"Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future,” Ajit Pai said in a statement.