Former Obama Assistant Predicts Telecom Challenge for Next Administration

Whichever Presidential candidate comes on top in November will have a serious telecommunications challenge on his or her hands, according to former special assistant to President Obama, Susan Crawford.

At a recent MIT CSAIL event, Crawford advised the candidates to keep their eyes on Asia, where governments and institutions have begun seriously upgrading their telecom networks.

’Some parts of Asia are going through a phase change to fiber plus 5G networks, which are going to be as different from our current use of the Internet as having electricity was to not having it,’ Crawford said.

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As these countries ’see themselves as the future,’ Crawford said it will be crucial for U.S. leadership to keep the country’s infrastructure up to date.

’Are we making a move toward competitive last mile fiber? All the 5G talk is going to depend on that,’ she said.

’Last mile’ fiber refers to the final leg of telecommunications networks.

’This is going to be a huge change for all of these data governance-driven issues too, as the Internet of Things becomes more than a marketing term and affects people’s lives,’ she added.

Crawford co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations, and currently serves as co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.