A critical issue for our country’s future is winning the race to be the world’s leading provider of 5G cellular communications networks. Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century.
5G will be as much as 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular networks. It will transform the way our citizens work, learn, communicate, and travel. It will make American farms more productive, American manufacturing more competitive and American health care better and more accessible.
Just as 4G networks paved the way for smartphones, 5G networks will create astonishing and thrilling new opportunities. We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future. We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen. The race to 5G is a race America must win, and it’s a race that our great companies are now involved in. We’ve given them the incentive they need.
In the United States, our approach is private-sector driven and private-sector led. The government doesn’t have to spend lots of money. According to some estimates, the wireless industry plans to invest $275 billion in 5G networks, creating 3 million American jobs and adding $500 billion to our economy.
We had another alternative of doing it: that would be through government investment and leading through the government. We don’t want to do that because it won’t be nearly as good or nearly as fast.
To accelerate and incentivize these investments, my administration is focused on freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed — we’re going to free it up so they’ll be able to get out there and get it done — and removing regulatory barriers to the buildout of networks.
The FCC is taking bold action to make wireless spectrum available. By next year, the United States is on pace to have more 5G spectrum than any other country in the world. That’s a big statement because some people got ahead of us. We should have been doing this a long time ago, as advanced as it may be.
Last October, I directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop a national spectrum strategy to free up even more spectrum for economic activity, including 5G.
The FCC has also taken action to streamline the permitting process for 5G infrastructure with state and local governments. That’s a big deal. It takes too long to get permits. We’re going to free that situation up, and we’re going to put limits and the local areas are going to listen to us very, very strongly. They have a big incentive to do that.
They must now approve new physical infrastructure within 90 days, instead of many years. It can sometimes take three, four and five years. We’re going to put a limit of 90 days. And there is now a cap on the unreasonable fees local governments often charge. They get greedy. They think, “Hey, we can really take advantage.” And it ends up that everybody gets hurt. So we’re putting a cap on those fees. These changes will contribute greatly to building high-speed networks across America.
By the end of this year, the United States will have 92 5G deployments in markets nationwide. The next nearest country, South Korea, will have 48. So we have 92, compared to 48. And we’re going to accelerate that pace greatly.
But we must not rest; the race is far from over. American companies must lead the world in cellular technology. 5G networks must be secure. They must be strong. They have to be guarded from the enemy — we do have enemies out there — and they will be. They must cover every community, and they must be deployed as soon as possible.
As we are making great progress with 5G, we’re also focused on rural communities that do not have access to broadband at all —the farmers and others. They just haven’t been treated properly. And now, we’re making it a priority. That’s the areas we want to go to first, so they’re covered. We’re working closely with federal agencies to get networks built in rural America faster and at much, much lower cost than it is even today.
Donald J. Trump is president of the United States. Edited for length and style, this article was excerpted from a speech given in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on April 12. For the unabridged text, visit www.whitehouse.gov.