Sen. John Kennedy May Cause the US to Lose the Race to 5G Against China

The race to widespread 5G access across the United States may be brought to a screeching halt thanks to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA). On Thursday, Politico reported that Kennedy is considering introducing legislation that will override the FCC if it votes in favor of Chairman Pai’s proposal for a public auction of the C-Band spectrum in December of 2020.

“They can also un-vote later,” Kennedy said, “or we can pass a bill and un-vote for ’em.” Kennedy also questioned whether President Donald Trump backs the FCC proposal, in spite of statements from Vice President Mike Pence that Trump approves of Chairman Pai’s plan. “President Trump hasn’t [backed it],” Kennedy said. “Pence has, and Kudlow has. Any of these people who are for this, I wouldn’t take them to buy a car with me because they would pay the sticker price.”

Instead, Kennedy would like to propose legislation that would give only $1 billion in incentives to satellite firms, explicitly reserving a cut of the proceeds for the broadband buildout.

On Thursday afternoon, Ian Prior, spokesperson for the nonprofit 5G Action Now responded, saying “It is extremely disappointing that Senator Kennedy is looking to slam the brakes on the progress we saw last week with Chairman Pai’s announcement of a public auction of the C-Band spectrum.” Prior continued saying that “the United States is in a race to 5G development and deployment against China,” and is already behind.

“Fortunately, Chairman Pai’s plan will allow us to catch and eventually beat China,” Prior said. “Doing so would benefit not only our national and economic security, but would also allow Louisiana to supercharge its economy and provide residents with cutting edge technology to make their lives easier.”

5G Action Now is calling on Senator Kennedy to work with the FCC and the Trump administration rather than acting against them.

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo News, Wander No More, Big Easy Magazine, and more. In 2019, she was given the title of “Most Fearless” by The Bayou Brief. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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