FCC's Carr on 5G: Americans 'Ticked Off' By Lack of Choice in Home Broadband

Talks up 5G as way to boost competition
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Taking a rather unusual tack for a Republican, commissioner Brendan Carr talked about consumer frustration with lack of choice in home broadband in his speech this week to the Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles. 

Related: Carr Says 5G Buildout Is Key to His T-Mobile-Sprint Support

Brendan Carr

Brendan Carr

Carr was making the point that home broadband was one of the ways 5G was going to matter to consumers. He argues that while most Americans know "something" about 5G, it was important to move the conversation about 5G beyond the tech heads and toward educating the average Joe and Jane about how the new tech will impact them where they live. 

He said the first and perhaps most obvious benefit is offering choice in the high-speed internet delivered to those homes.  

"Many Americans feel like they have only one choice for this essential service, and this ticks them off," he said, adding that that lack up choice "seems to verge on un-American." 

"When there are 70 flavors of sparkling water at the grocery store, they are not content with just one option for home Internet," he explained, adding "And rightly so." 

Carr said it was "great" that one wireless provider had made home internet its first 5G offering, and another was planning to role it out to 30 million households.  

Related:  Verizon Targeting ‘Where Cable Is Today’ for 5G Launch

Echoing NTIA acting head Diane Rinaldo in a speech to the same group, Carr also said the U.S. was winning the race to 5G, a Trump Administration priority. 

He offered the following to make his case: 

1. "The U.S. is home to the first commercial 5G deployment in the world. 

2. "14 U.S. communities went live with commercial 5G in 2018, compared to zero in China.

3. "More than 30 U.S. communities are live with commercial 5G today, compared to zero in China.

4. "By year’s end, commercial 5G service will be live in at least 42 U.S. communities.

5. "By 2022, the U.S. will have more than double China’s 5G adoption rate.

6. "And one provider alone has committed to build out 5G to 99 percent of the U.S. population. I have heard no such plan out of China."

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