Keeping America’s 5G Networks Secure, Now and Into the Future | Citizens Against Government Waste

Keeping America’s 5G Networks Secure, Now and Into the Future

The WasteWatcher

In a time of economic uncertainty and global challenges, it has never been more important for the U.S. to be at the forefront of creating a strong, stable, and secure fifth generation (5G) network. 

It is for this reason that President Trump signed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act on March 23, 2020.  This law requires the President to create a strategy to ensure the security of 5G systems and infrastructure and help U.S. allies maximize the security of their 5G systems and infrastructure. 

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a rule that would restrict those receiving funds from the universal service fund (USF) from purchasing equipment from either Huawei or ZTE or utilizing their services.  Both companies have Chinese ownership and create a risk to national security if used in U.S. networks.  This new rule will help to reduce these risks.  During the same week, the United Kingdom announced that it would also prohibit the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in their networks.  Their resistance to trust Chinese technology is a major win for the United States, as it will likely inspire other countries to think critically about the potential risks this equipment may pose to their national security, ensuring a more secure global network for the United States, the United Kingdom, and our allies.  This is completely consistent with the Secure 5G Act.

Ensuring that 5G deployment is a national priority will allow users to experience the benefits these next generation networks will bring, including faster streaming and download speeds, more reliable internet connections, and the deployment of new technological advances, including precision agriculture and smart cities.  The past four months of stay-at-home orders stemming from the coronavirus have demonstrated that Americans across the country need  reliable and secure broadband networks, which is why the work of the FCC is so important.  At the same time, the Presidential strategy required under the Secure 5G Act will allow the administration to assess the security of 5G and recommend adjustments to the networks as problems arise, while allowing consumers to have continued access to the internet.

The FCC continues to be the lead agency in providing direction and enabling the deployment of 5G networks, and has been hard at work to help keep the U.S. on track as the leader of 5G deployment, even during the current pandemic.  This includes reallocating much-needed spectrum in the low, mid-, and high bands that are necessary to ensure a resilient network for both urban and rural areas of the country.  During a June 2, 2020 virtual town hall, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr explained how the FCC has helped implement the COVID-19 Telehealth program, part of the CARES Act.  This program has been vital for taxpayers during the pandemic as telehealth has proved for many to be a much safer option than taking a trip to the hospital. 

A powerful and secure 5G network is crucial in the United States now more than ever.  With the recent rise in teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are increasingly reliant on the internet in order to communicate with their colleagues and get through the workday.  While 5G deployment continues to be implemented, more must be done to promote the advancement of 5G networks.  Americans need 5G, not only to compete with China and other countries, but also to keep taxpayers online when they most need the internet.

--Emily Kleck