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Ajit Pai Discusses 5G in Geopolitical Context, TIA on 5G Supply Chain, Benton Institute’s Vision for 2020s

Masha Abarinova

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Screenshot of Ajit Pai on Fox News on November 5, 2019

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calls for more spectrum and fiber

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said that the US is “poised” to seize 5G opportunities at the Council of Foreign Relations Tuesday, the agency reports. Despite the benefits that 5G will provide, Pai said in his remarks, such as more spectrum and the increased deployment of fiber, network security remains a challenge.

Huawei, he said, threatens the integrity of the communications supply chain. The recent influence that the Chinese government has exerted on tech companies such as Apple and Blizzard, for example, could raise a broader concern about US security and open the door to potential espionage.

That’s why it’s imperative, Pai continued, that the government makes sure the equipment going into 5G networks is from trusted vendors and that existing wireless networks are secured. Moreover, he added, the US needs to remind its allies that decisions impacting 5G security need to be made with the long term in mind.

“America’s current leadership in 5G, and our support of virtualized networks of the future, demonstrate that the choice between 5G development and security is a false one—now and going forward,” Pai said.

Telecommunications Industry Association wights in on 'supply chain' issues in 5G

A reliable telecommunications network is critical for both 5G wireless service and national security, Telecommunications Industry Association’s David Stehlin writes. As the benefits of 5G’s applications increase, so will opportunities for malicious actors to attack deployed networks to disrupt critical economic and transportation infrastructure.

Equipment manufactured by foreign adversaries, Stehlin continues, is one of the biggest threats to network integrity, as vendors could be obligated by their governments to aid in espionage or other hostile acts. The Federal Communications Commission as well as Congress and the White House are all actively working to push 5G supply chain security legislation, he said.

But government regulations, Stehlin added, will never be able to reach the level of detail needed to ensure a completely safe supply chain while leaving room for innovation and growth.

That’s why clear-driven industry standards are needed to verify the integrity of the Information and Communications Technology supply chain and challenge companies to continually innovate and improve their supply chain processes, said Stehlin. These standards can provide both government and consumers the assurance that the U.S. vast telecommunications network is reliable and secure.

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society releases 'A Vision for the 2020s'

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society released last week the report, “Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s”, says Next Century Cities. Written by Benton Senior Fellow Jonathan Sallet, the report offers an account of the policy landscape while conveying a sense of urgency for broadband infrastructure to be a national priority.

The report’s main takeaways focus on the continuation of broadband deployment where adequate connectivity does not exist, and to ensure that the service is affordable and easy to adopt. Competition among providers as well as the role of schools, libraries and other anchor institutions, is key to facilitating ubiquitous broadband access.

Broadband plan in Rains County, Texas

The Rains County, Texas Broadband Committee is partnering with Connected Nation Texas to increase high-speed internet access in the area, Connected Nation reports.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said he is committed to closing the staggering gaps of coverage impacting many rural Texans.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with Connected Nation to help expand wireless broadband capabilities for people in Rains County through targeted, localized efforts and community engagement,” he said.

The Broadband Committee will use CN Texas’ Connected Community Engagement Program to collect surveys, analyze the data, and develop structured and community-specific plan for Rains County.

“Once we get input from those living and working in Rains County, our committee can more effectively develop a plan of action,” said Rains County Court Judge Wayne Wolfe, “It will help ensure we have the most accurate, up-to-date information.”

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