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Trump reveals plans to bolster 5G wireless leadership

The White House has ordered a National Spectrum Strategy and task force to lead the way for 5G.


President Trump is a big fan of 5G. 

Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump really, really likes 5G. 

The White House on Thursday announced that it was developing a plan to "position the United States to lead in next generation wireless networks for years to come." 

5G, which refers to the fifth generation of cellular technology, has been hailed as the foundation for other big trends like self-driving cars and streaming virtual reality. The announcement comes as the first rollout of high-speed 5G networks is expected to begin later this year, with broader deploying coming over the next two years. Beyond the US, China, Korea and Japan are keen to get into 5G quick too, creating a new kinds of technological arms race. 

With all the hype surrounding 5G, it's no surprise the White House wants to jump on the bandwagon. 

"We're on the verge of new technological revolutions that could improve virtually every aspect of our lives, create vast new wealth for American workers and families, and open up bold, new frontiers in science, medicine, and communication. 

The development of the National Spectrum Strategy will be led by the Secretary of Commerce, who will work across agencies to ensure that there is sufficient spectrum, or radio airwaves used to ferry wireless data, across a broad base, with a particular focus on the use of wireless networks for military purposes.

Getting more spectrum in the hands of carriers -- particularly rural carriers -- is critical to the broader deployment of cellular service. 

Under this proposal, federal agencies will be tasked with submitting a report to the Commerce Department on anticipated future spectrum needs and current spectrum usage within six months. The Office of Science and Technology will be responsible for preparing a report, which the Commerce Department is scheduled to share with Trump in nine months. 

A spokesman for the White House wasn't available to elaborate further on the plans. 

The Federal Communications Commission has already been working to get more spectrum in the hands of carriers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke to CNET last month about the need for a national broadband plan to connect everyone in the country. 

This isn't the first time 5G has been linked to Trump. In January, White House plans for a national 5G network leaked out, although it's unclear how realistic they actually were. In March, he blocked the proposed acquisition of San Diego-based Qualcomm from then Singapore-based Broadcom because of Qualcomm's importance in the development of 5G. The White House even held a 5G summit in September. 

For more details on exactly what 5G is, where it's rolling out in the US and what devices will be compatible with high-speed networks, check our ongoing 5G coverage here.

Update, 12:27 p.m. PT: To include more information on the timetable for the recommendations. 

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