Ex-Google CEO slams ‘dithering’ on 5G and claims US is ‘well behind’ China’s progress

‘The step up to real 5G speeds will lead to analogous breakthroughs in autonomous vehicles, virtual-reality applications like the metaverse, and other areas that have yet to be invented’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 17 February 2022 19:05
Comments

Related video: Verizon and AT&T delay 5G rollout

Leer en Español

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has slammed the US government for its slow 5G rollout, arguing that the government’s “dithering” has left America “well behind” China.

Dr Schmidt penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal alongside Harvard government professor Graham Allison, saying that the US is “far behind in almost every dimension of 5G while other nations – including China – race ahead”.

The authors said the Biden administration must make 5G a “national priority”.

If not, “China will own the 5G future”, they said. 5G – the next stage in the development of a faster internet – could have industrial and military uses.

“The step up to real 5G speeds will lead to analogous breakthroughs in autonomous vehicles, virtual-reality applications like the metaverse, and other areas that have yet to be invented,” Dr Schmidt and Dr Allison wrote. “Applications abound that could advantage a country’s intelligence agencies and enhance its military capabilities.”

They said the average 5G download speed in China is notably faster than in the US. The median download speed in China was more than 299 megabits per second in the third quarter of last year, according to the company Speedtest. That same figure in the US was 93.73 megabits per second, CNBC noted.

“Mobile internet speed is a central advancement of 5G, which enables a new domain of breakthrough applications with potent economic and national-security implications,” they said.

They said that while US sanctions have hurt China’s biggest company in telecommunications – Huawei – the company still dominates the market.

Dr Schmidt and Dr Allison wrote that China is “rapidly allocating the most efficient part” of the wireless range to companies in the telecommunications sector, while US companies such as Verizon and AT&T are using the same spectrum band for both their 4G and 5G networks.

The authors also wrote that China is simply spending more money on 5G than the US.

“The pathetic US performance in the 5G race is a sign of America’s larger failure to keep up with China on strategically important technologies. China is also ahead of America in high-tech manufacturing, green energy and many applications of artificial intelligence,” they wrote.

“On current trajectories, by 2030 it will likely lead the US in the number of semiconductor chips it produces and in applications of biotechnology to defeat diseases like cancer,” they added.

Dr Schmidt has been critical of the US government’s actions on technologies that he sees as important for the future. He has issued several warnings concerning the threat of China taking over in the area.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which Dr Schmidt chairs, issued a report last year that said that China could overtake the US as the world’s “AI superpower”, with possible military consequences to follow.

The Independent has reached out to the Biden administration for comment.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in