China is our greatest enemy.
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When I first said this at an event a few years ago I was met with laughs and protests of disgust from college students. I was doubted and considered to be “fringe” for having this belief.
Now, as we stand today, when I say this on campus or at GOP meetings, I am instead met with agreement and applause. There is now widespread agreement that China is our biggest and most formidable enemy that should by no means be underestimated. They are hacking our cybergrid, building a massive army, purchasing assets around the globe and implementing spies throughout our country.
It begs the question, what else are they doing that we aren’t noticing?
Difficult as it may be to imagine, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon allow a group of foreign satellite companies – one of whom is partially owned by our unyielding adversary, Communist China – to reap billions selling strategic American assets given to them for free. If Republican lawmakers don’t immediately intervene, U.S. interests, and American taxpayers – especially those who reside in the rural interior – are going to lose. Big time.
At issue is the FCC’s laudable goal of increasing America’s capacity for faster and more reliable internet by freeing up the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz band – commonly referred to as “C-Band” – for internet services. This repurposing of the C-Band spectrum for mobile broadband deployment could ensure America wins the race to 5G. The timing is especially welcome, given that Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei, is poised to shortly dominate half of the global 5G market – posing massive national security risks for the U.S. as we build out 5G domestically.
What isn’t welcome is the profiteering scheme recently hatched by the four satellite companies that currently own 100 percent of the C-Band spectrum over the United States, and which was licensed to them for free by our government back in the 1960s. The one firm proviso? Wield this power in the American public interest. Now those four companies – Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat – have conspired to manufacture their own lobbying vehicle named the “C-Band Alliance” (CBA). The CBA’s sole mission is to convince the FCC to permit a dramatic subversion of the American public interest by allowing them (the CBA) to privately sell off their C-Band spectrum, reaping billions – potentially tens of billions – that rightly belong to the American people.
Compounding the outrage is the very nature of these companies, which, while nominally “American,” are in reality, anything but; they are, in fact, based on foreign soil, and owned and run by foreign investors. These include the massive Bank of Luxembourg, a myriad French and Canadian interests, as well as our committed adversary, China, through its sovereign wealth fund – the China Investment Corporation (CIC), otherwise known as the wholly-owned investment arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
It is safe to conclude that none of these entities would feature “America’s public interest” at the top, or even on, their priority list.
The CBA’s scheme, while deeply self-serving, represents a perversion of the public interest, as well as a swift blow to the American taxpayer, who is already alarmed by his country awash in debt, and his government shamelessly addicted to deficit-spending. In this climate, is the U.S. Treasury really going to forgo billions of dollars, while allowing foreign interests to profit to the detriment of Americans? It sure seems in contravention of the "America First" agenda promulgated by the Trump administration.
Equally alarming, the CBA’s scheme would only exacerbate the many challenges faced by rural American communities and the citizens who toil within them. The FCC has a mandate to protect these folks, and generally, they’ve done an admirable job. These Americans should not be left behind, and yet, by subverting the FCC oversight responsibility for spectrum allocation, that is exactly what the CBA scheme would accomplish.
Finally, not only does the CBA hope to abscond with America’s billions – again, maybe tens of billions – the opaque nature of the private sales for which it’s lobbying, would, in this competitive landscape, inevitably result in years of litigation, and endless delays in 5G deployment. All of which should render this scheme dead-on-arrival.
The C-Band spectrum is a public asset of tremendous value, certain to command top dollar and committed interest on the open market. That’s our American tradition, and it’s a good one. Free markets, private investment and accelerated innovation are happy bedfellows, but given the calculus here – Foreign Companies and Governments (including China!) vs. Americans in rural communities and Taxpayers across the country – the answer should be a proverbial “no-brainer.”
Turns out, the FCC is a bit of a pioneer as a regulatory body comfortable utilizing markets. In the past, it has succeeded in disposing of important public assets through incentive auctions that successfully harnessed the power of free markets, while still preserving their mandate to protect public interests. In fact, Chairman Pai himself described the ideal method: “We need to have a free and open auction where market forces determine the outcome. The prices paid to broadcasters should be determined by the auction process, not by government fiat. And participation in the forward auction should be open to all.”
I agree. Why alter course now?
Outsourcing the allocation of American spectrum to foreign operators is unacceptable. So, too, is thumbing one’s nose at billions of American taxpayer dollars, while ceding strategic assets to those who either don’t share our interests, or even oppose them wholeheartedly.
Urge your elected representatives to reject the CBA’s self-serving scheme, and instead, oversee a public auction that would allow for the most competitive allocation of licenses to best enable 5G deployment. That would be fair, open, and totally transparent. It would also bring in billions to the U.S. Treasury – and us, the taxpayers – while also facilitating the rapid, nationwide deployment of 5G, even to rural America. That’s what America’s “public interest” looks like.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that aims to educate students on free-market values. You can follow him on Twitter @CharlieKirk11.