A pair of 5G-focused bills will be voted on by the House of Representatives this week.
The first is a bill by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) called “Promoting United States International Leadership in 5G Act of 2019.”
Introduced last October, H.R. 3763 would establish an interagency task force with the goal of ensuring the U.S. remains instrumental in the international 5G standards-setting process.
Wednesday on the House floor Rep. McCaul stated, “The freeflow of information and security of a country’s data cannot be guaranteed using Communist Party of China-supplied technology,” speaking of the Chinese-Huawei effort to influence the international standards rule-making.
“My bill will ensure that the U.S., maintains and in some cases increases, leadership at the international standard-setting bodies,” he summarized.
Among them are international cooperation, sharing of information, and security measures aimed at protecting the supply chain which will drive 5G infrastructure building.
Under those guidelines, Rep. Flores told The Texan, “5G networks will have the capacity to support increased innovation and robust economic growth through innovative technologies including telemedicine, high-speed rural broadband, and autonomous vehicle deployment.”
“Recommendations from the Prague Proposals will guide allied countries and industry leaders to secure the development of 5G network architecture so that consumers can realize the full potential of the next generation of high-speed communications,” he concluded.
The race to 5G has become a focus not only for the tech industry but on the international stage as well.
The latest step in wireless internet, 5G stands for “fifth-generation cellular wireless” and is not fully developed yet. The march from 1G to 5G centers on internet speed. The amount of data and the speed at which it can be transmitted from a provider to a consumer has drastically improved over the various generations.
The first-generation consisted of analog cell phones (like those brick-sized Motorola phones from the early 80s) whereas the fourth-generation smartphones introduced LTE, which has an average download speed of 12-30 megabytes per second (Mbps).
The newest generation (5G) promises to implement faster download speeds, more responsive service, and a higher capacity for device connection.
In the private sector, 5G is the hot commodity and cellular companies have vociferously advertised it despite the very limited access available to customers.
On the international stage, China’s Huawei — its government-run telecommunications company — has led the way in 5G development. They have done so thanks to $15 billion in annual spending on research and development.
This concerns some American foreign policy minds since communication and control over Internet spectrum are seen as crucial cards to have in-hand from both security and economic advancement perspectives.
The U.S. has sought and succeeded in achieving prevention of Huawei’s expansion into other countries and their consumer market — specifically Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
Still, Huawei is still only banned in just a handful of countries, including the United States.
The worry among the U.S. and other Western stakeholders is that potential control over the 5G market by Huawei will inevitably result in China using internet coverage as leverage to advance the communist regime’s interests against the rest of the world.
Reps. McCaul and Flores believe these bills, and the protocols they support, are a step toward addressing that threat.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.