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US in 'good shape' in 5G race, on the cusp of 'significant' tech breakthroughs: FCC commissioner

Key Points
  • The United States is in "good shape" as it races to establish dominance in 5G wireless technology, says FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.
  • The U.S. is facing stiff competition to build the networks before Chinese companies do.
  • "We are really on the cusp of some significant technological breakthroughs," says Carr.
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FCC Commissioner on the economic impact of 5G

The United States is in "good shape" as it races to establish dominance in 5G wireless technology, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr told CNBC on Friday.

The U.S. is facing stiff competition to build the networks before Chinese companies do.

"We are really on the cusp of some significant technological breakthroughs, and it's happening at the right time because we are getting our regulations right as well," Carr said on "Squawk Alley. "

President Donald Trump brought renewed attention on the issue Thursday, after tweeting that he wants "5G, and even 6G technology " in the U.S. and that "American companies must step up their efforts."

However, 6G technology doesn't exist. When asked about such a thing, Carr — who was appointed by Trump as FCC commissioner in 2017 — did not specifically address 6G but said there has been a lot of talk about the "next generation platform." And 5G is a big piece of that, he noted.

"There are other technologies on the horizon as well. There's a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellites that are coming online. The wired broadband networks are being upgraded as well," he said. "We are focused on getting the regulatory playing field right and then letting the private sector deploy whatever new broadband technologies that they can."

The government is counting on the private sector to win the global 5G race. Carr said the government has already cut a "couple billion dollars in red tape," particularly on the infrastructure side, to help providers along. That's important, he said, because China is able to "snap its fingers" and deploy new networks "virtually overnight" because it has a different economic system.

However, he's confident the U.S. can win. "We won the race to 4G by doing exactly that, getting the government of the way. We are doubling down on those efforts right now as we make this push to 5G."