By Kevin Werbach
The Trump re-election campaign’s wireless open access proposal was a poorly vetted scheme possibly intended to score political points. It was squelched almost immediately after it became public, as shocked White House staff members complained that it contradicted the administration’s support for competing wireless networks. The twist? Open access wireless is actually a terrific idea. Some forward-thinking Democrats and public interest advocates have been pushing it for decades.
The concept, promoted by Republican operatives such as Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, is for a network supporting fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology to operate on a wholesale basis. Carriers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon could buy capacity. So could anyone else: Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Uber or small operators serving rural areas. No company could use exclusive control over spectrum to block competition.
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