Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on 5G Network Security

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The Senate Commerce Committee drilled down on the 5G rollout in a hearing titled "Winning the Race to 5G and the Next Era of Technology Innovation in the United States." It was the first hearing of the committee in the 116th Congress, and the shadow of Chinese tech in US telecom loomed large over the proceedings. In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) discussed the promise of 5G across multiple sectors and the need to win the race to 5G, and the threat of Chinese telecoms. Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said she was concerned about Chinese telecoms participation in network tech standard setting. She said it needed to be made clear to the International Telecommunications Union that state actors should not be sitting on standards boards. She wished she had heard more from the President on cybersecurity at the State of the Union, but regardless Congress needs to make sure the 5G network is safe and that the promise of 5G does not come at the expense of national security and a secure supply chain. Ranking Member Cantwell also said there needs to be as much enthusiasm about bringing rural and tribal areas into the broadband fold as there is about rolling out 5G. On the issue of broadband subsidies, Sen Brain Schatz (D-HI), said the Federal Communications Commission is "chicken" to do Universal Service Fund contribution reform, which is why the government doesn't have more money to put into building out broadband. Competitive Carriers Association President Steve Berry said he could not agree more. He signaled broadband providers, not just phone service providers, should be contributing to the Universal Service Fund, particularly since the fund is migrating to subsidizing broadband as the new advanced communications baseline.

Senate Committee Vets 5G Network Security Winning the Race to 5G and the Next Era of Technology Innovation in the United States (Hearing Page)