Rolling out 5G: “MAGA Smart Cities” or “Sino-Suicide Cities”?

The introduction of 5G will revolutionize every modern society. It will be akin to the introduction of the internet – an “internet 2.0.” What matters most is who introduces it and who owns its infrastructure.

5G infrastructure will enable the connection of up to three million devices per one square mile – with connection speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G. Compare this to the current 4G limit of roughly 10,000 devices over the same terrain and one can begin to understand why experts describe the transition as going from a chariot to a Camaro. The difficulties of connecting in a large stadium, festival, or in the wake of an emergency necessitating heavy use of telecommunications will be a thing of the past.

The low latency and high speeds will enable human to robot interfacing that will make possible remote robotic surgery. Robot to robot interfacing will enable the building blocks of “Smart Cities” where machines vastly enhance the effectiveness and comfort of human life.

However, there is one large problem for those concerned about freedom. Communist China is currently poised to lead the global development of 5G.

As of 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a strategy involving massive investments and development in countries around the world, has given China elements of control over the infrastructure of more than 68 countries, including 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global gross domestic product. The rapid development of a worldwide 5G network is one of the most worrisome dimensions of this neo-colonial conquest. Beijing’s digital ‘silk road’ has been paved right over American soil.

In 2012, the U.S. intelligence community identified that products made by two Chinese companies, Huawei and ZTE, posed a risk to national security. These products have enabled the the Chinese government to spy, steal trade secrets and conduct cyberattacks. Worse, these companies have become central to many communities in America, especially in rural areas. In fact, the Vice President for Sales of Huawei Technologies, Bill Levy, is a board member of America’s Rural Wireless Association (RWA).

The implementation of 5G technology into America’s cities will enable the Chinese government to conduct limitless surveillance of Americans and the capability to weaponize smart-city devices against their populations. For example, if every thermostat in New York City were to increase by one degree at the same moment, the city’s entire electrical grid could be quickly overloaded, leading to blackouts. Allowing the Chinese to build and own this infrastructure in America is akin to suicide for our republic.

Thankfully, the Trump administration is pushing back. In August 2018, the White House signed a bill banning the U.S. government from using Huawei and ZTE equipment. The President is now considering issuing an Executive Order to extend this ban to U.S. private companies.

Thankfully, there is an alternative to Chinese control of 5G – an American-owned, secure, 5G information domain. If properly implemented, it could lower cell phone data bills by 80% or more and add as much as 0.75% to our annual Gross Domestic Product growth according to economic warfare expert Kevin Freeman.

Most importantly, American owned and operated 5G infrastructure would preserve American security.

About Tommy Waller

Tommy Waller serves as Vice President, Special Projects at the Center for Security Policy.  Tommy manages the Secure the Grid Coaition – a group of policymakers, defense professionals, and activists working diligently to secure America’s most critical infrastructure – the U.S. Electric Grid.  Prior to joining the Center, Tommy served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an Infantry and Recon Officer with combat service overseas in numerous theaters.  His full bio can be found here.