Representatives from the cellular networking industry, FCC (News - Alert) Chairman Ajit Pai, members of Congress, and President Trump’s advisors came together Friday for a 5G summit. Hosted by The White House, the gathering provided government leaders with an opportunity to both explain how little they know about connected technology and to provide details on what they’re doing to move 5G forward so the U.S. can be the world leader on this front.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, kicked off the event by noting that the move to 5G is a sprint, not just a run. Countries across Asia and Europe are pushing hard to move ahead in the 5G arena, he said. But Congress, The White House, federal regulators, and industry have the shared goal of ensuring the U.S. continues to lead the world in connected technology, he added, and that includes leadership in 5G.
To do that, he added, government and industry leaders in the U.S. need to think strategically about infrastructure deployment, spectrum availability, and supply chain risk.
• Earlier this year Congress passed and President Trump signed the Ray Baum Act passed, Walden noted, saying that legislation cuts red tape that can slow or stop infrastructure builds.
• He also talked about the need to move federal entities off mid-band spectrum. (The FCC will begin the country’s first 5G spectrum auction in November.)
• Walden also noted the national security risks related to 5G. But said that while there are some who think we can just ban certain vendors, it’s a global supply chain. And that, he indicated, complicates the matter.
Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO and president of vendor and supply chain risk management company Interos Solutions, earlier this year said this to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: “Our concern is that with 5G and the IoT there is no way to control access to our critical infrastructure, to our personally identifiable information, to our national secrets and national security. With 5G making the speed of connections to other people, other companies, other entities at a hyper pace, the concern is how do we protect ourselves and what protections and policies can we put in place that are repeatable and scalable?”
James Mulvenon, general manager of the special programs division at SOS (News - Alert) International, added: “The federal acquisition regulations (FAR) right now are written is such a way that cheapest is best. There has not been a sufficient lashing of the FAR to the NIST cybersecurity framework and guidelines such that there are minimum threshold floors on particular technologies and supply chains necessary.”
A while back, the Trump administration had reportedly discussed the idea of building a national 5G network due to its national security concerns. But that concept didn’t go far.
So lately the federal government has working to move forward private industry efforts around 5G. And cellular industry leaders are understandably happy about that.
Meredith Attwell Baker, the president and CEO of cellular association CTIA (News - Alert), had this to say about Friday’s 5G event: “We completely agree with the Administration, the FCC, the NTIA and congressional leaders that free market American leadership in 5G is vital for our economy, private investment and future innovation. And it was especially noteworthy that today’s event focused so much on the need to free up more mid-band spectrum for commercial wireless use to help meet this goal and to keep up with skyrocketing consumer demand for mobile data. We look forward to continuing this important dialogue with the Administration and policymakers to make 5G a reality.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle