David Williams is president of the Washington-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance, known for exposing and combatting governmental waste and mismanagement that is hurtful to taxpayers. Before TPA, David spent nearly 20 years pursuing the fight for fair treatment of taxpayers at Citizens Against Government Waste.
John C.: Good morning, America. This is the CATS Roundtable, John Catsimatidis here. What’s going on in our countries, in our states, in our cities? One of the big things happening is there’s 5G technology coming. What does that mean? With us this morning, David Williams. He’s the president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. Good morning, David. How are you this morning?
David Williams: Fantastic. Thank you for having me today.
John C.: Tell us what the Taxpayer Alliance does, and where are you located out of?
David Williams: We are a taxpayer watchdog group based in Washington, DC. We look at spending. We look at taxation. We look at transparency. So, really, everything for taxpayers, and consumers to a certain extent. We’re, I guess, a full-service taxpayer group looking at how the government spends money.
John C.: What are you concerned about? I hear you’re very much concerned about 5G technology. Now, we’ve had people on the show that are worried about 5G technology. They think it’s going to hurt people. What is your position on it?
David Williams: There are some people that are concerned about 5G technology and the effects it has. But the way we look at 5G wireless technology is that it’s a way to close the digital divide. Right now, a lot of people in this country don’t have high-speed broadband. 5G wireless technology will be 100 times faster than 4G, what we currently have. This’ll be done without taxpayer money. That’s the best part of deploying 5G, is that the private sector, companies, will be deploying this, will be spending the money to do this. That’s why we’re so excited, is that no taxpayer dollars are going to be used and we’re finally going to be able to close the digital divide in this country.
John C.: Tell us how the digital divide will be closed. Can 5G travel further? In other words, taxpayers don’t have to be connected by wire, it’s all wireless? Tell us.
David Williams: That’s exactly it, is that this will be wireless. Cable companies won’t have to run cables up to everyone’s home to get high-speed broadband. It’ll be done wirelessly. This will be able to happen in the cities, on the countryside. I heard that farmers are excited for 5G because there’s a lot of agricultural sort of applications that can be use for 5G. So this is something that’s, again, going to help individuals, but also businesses, small businesses, large businesses, and really just get everyone connected. We’re also talking about students. Students in rural areas and some in urban areas that have to sit outside of a restaurant, a fast food restaurant, to get Wi-Fi, to get connectivity. We need to solve that. I mean, that’s ridiculous that a student has to sit inside a fast food restaurant or outside one to connect to the internet. 5G really is going to help us get close to 100% broadband across the country.
John C.: Now, what is the argument with the FCC on that?
David Williams: Right now, there’s a proposed sale of the spectrum, of … The wireless is carried over the spectrum. There are four satellite companies who are holding, let’s call it very pristine property of spectrum. Right now, those four satellite companies, they want to sell it and they don’t want to give the money to the taxpayer, to the FCC. They want to reap the profits themselves. Keep in mind, these satellite companies were given use of this prime property decade ago for free. So they didn’t pay for it. These satellite companies didn’t pay for it, yet they want to make a buck off of it.
David Williams: We’re concerned about that because this is an asset. This is a taxpayer asset and we want the FCC to conduct this auction to lease the spectrum, so not only do taxpayers get the benefit of the money coming into the Treasury, but that we’re assured that it’s an open and fair process, is that the FCC has this process to sell the spectrum, to lease the spectrum. That’s why we’re involved in this is that there’s a potential that if these satellite companies sell it that it’s not going to be used for the best purpose. Again, as a taxpayer group, the money isn’t going to go to the Treasury.
John C.: Understood. In other words, the satellite companies that beam it down from 5, 10, 20 miles up above, they want to control the process versus the FCC creating a new auction for new people and the money goes to the taxpayers. Is that correct?
David Williams: That is absolutely correct. Let me just repeat, again, is that these satellite companies did not pay for the spectrum in the first place, so they don’t have a real good claim here. It’s not as if they spent a lot of money on this and the-
John C.: We’re not in a court of law. We’re not here to argue that.
David Williams: Okay.
John C.: The thing we’re talking about here, what’s best for the taxpayer of our country. I thank you very much for coming on. Let’s get that message out. David Williams, keep fighting for those taxpayers.
David Williams: Thank you very much.
John C.: This is the CATS Roundtable. We’ll be right back.
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