What you need to know
- A new bill has been introduced to boost the United States' involvement in 5G networks globally.
- The bill was spearheaded by Republican Michael McCaul and cosponsored by Democrat Henry Cuellar.
- The bill is in response to China's current dominance in the 5G field and fears over security and lack of competition.
The rollout of 5G has been big news this year as network operators ramp up the deployment to more and more cities. The next-gen network will provide lightning-fast speeds and lower latency connections that will enable new possibilities for future technologies, such as augmented reality and connected devices.
The big problem at the moment, besides the limited coverage, is China is currently winning the 5G race (at least according to Washington).
Last Monday, legislation was introduced by Michael McCaul of Texas, a Republican lawmaker, to help combat China's 5G dominance. The bill would make it a priority for the United States to step up and help create standards for the 5G cellular network internationally.
Speaking to Reuters, McCaul stated,
China's majority control of the world's 5G networks, interconnected devices and cloud storage is a risk we cannot accept.
McCaul continued on by saying, "We have to show up and compete with them." This is a sentiment that crosses party lines as the bill was also cosponsored by Henry Cuellar — a Democrat and fellow Texan.
While the bill looks to give the U.S. a greater representation internationally for 5G cellular networks, it doesn't ask for any additional funding. Instead, it requests that the State Department use the existing funds towards the effort.
When it comes to mobile technology conflicts between the U.S. and China, it always seems to come back to one company — Huawei. Currently, the Chinese mobile tech giant is one of the main companies looking to supply infrastructure for 5G networks globally.
It is the global threat which largely concerns the U.S., because even though the equipment can be avoided locally, it could expose the U.S. to security risks during operations abroad. At least that is according to a Defense Innovation Board report made back in April.
Beyond security concerns, the report also cites that allowing China to become the dominant 5G player could limit U.S. vendors as well as competition. This has lead to the U.S. lobbying ally countries to avoid using Huawei equipment in its 5G networks.
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