The White House tried to clarify Monday it is merely in the "earliest stages of the conversation" on a nationalized, ultra-fast 5G wireless network after a National Security Council memo floated the proposal as a way to combat Chinese spying on U.S. phone calls.
"Right now we're in the very earliest stages of the conversation," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said about the memo, first reported by Axios, The Hill reported.
"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 idea had merely been floated by a staff member, and was not a reflection of some imminent, major policy announcement — and probably might never be, Recode reported.
Recode noted the Federal Communications Commission serves as the government's steward of the wireless airwaves that power 5G and myriad other uses for smartphones, tablets and similar mobile devices — and chairman of the independent agency, Ajit Pai, said Monday he's vehemently opposed to nationalizing 5G.
The idea also got the thumbs down from telecommunications firms as well, The Hill reported.
"There is nothing that would slam the breaks more quickly on our hard-won momentum to be the leader in the global race for 5G network deployment more quickly than the federal government stepping-in to build those networks," Jonathan Spalter President of the telecommunications trade association USTelecom said, The Hill reported.
"People are flabbergasted," one unnamed former U.S. telecom regulator told The Washington Post.
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