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Global Concern About 5G Security Has Become a Bipartisan Cause, Say Broadband Breakfast Panelists

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November 17, 2020 — The transfer of power from the Republican Donald Trump to the Democrat Joe Biden is not likely to have much of an impact upon the way national security and supply chain issues are considered in the expansion of 5G networks, according to panelists at a recent session of the Broadband Breakfast Live Online event series, “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G.”

Although the October 28 session took place before the November 3 election, panelists acknowledged that the administration of President Donald Trump has changed the political landscape with regard to Chinese telecommunications manufacturers Huawei and ZTE.

Watch the next Broadband Broadband Breakfast Live Online event, “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: A Case Study of Transformative Apps in the Enterprise,” on Wednesday, November 18, at 12 Noon ET.

For example, President Trump issued an executive order in May restricting U.S. companies’ ability to use Chinese-made equipment.

In the October 28 session, “National Security, 5G and Trusted Partners,” panelists including State Department official Ruth Berry, Jim Lewis of CSIS, Diana Rinaldo of the Open RAN Policy Coalition and Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, discussed how the ban came to be and the effect it is having on American 5G networks.

Bipartisan concern over foreign-made telecommunications equipment in American networks became widespread after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramped up pressure over the use of Huawei technology in 5G networks in May 2019, recounted Berry.

Berry is acting director for bilateral and regional affairs in the Office of International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State.

From Trump administration cause to bipartisan ferver

Although rhetoric against China has been among the high-profile activities of Trump and administration officials including Pompeo, taking steps to “secure” American networks by restricting Chinese influence has become a bi-partisan causes, with Democratic Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks and Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr each seeming to outdo the other on who can seem more opposed to China..

The movement for 5G networks outside the influence of Chinese suppliers has expanded. In October, the U.S. Department of State announced that it committed four more European nations to security statements on 5G, bringing the total number to 12.

Currently, 25 countries in the European Union are committed to putting in place U.S.-favored measures to address security or supply chain issues with their networks.

Atkinson agreed with governments who have banned Huawei and ZTE, saying that their equipment cannot be trusted in American networks.

“5G raises a whole new set of security concerns,” said Lewis, senior vice president at CSIS. According to Lewis, who defined 5G as “the merger of telecom and the internet”, the technology changes the whole nature of networks and  creates new risks and cybersecurity problems.

Raising issues about Chinese companies compelled to operate with Chinese intelligence services

“Talk about Huawei and ZTE being untrustworthy is related to geopolitical factors, not technical factors,” said Berry of the State Department. “Under Chinese national intelligence law any Chinese entity, including corporations, is compelled to cooperate in secret with Chinese national intelligence services,” she said.

In order to ensure that U.S. 5G infrastructure will act in the best interest of consumers, Berry and her colleagues at the State Department have spent the past two years working with global partners to create criteria that would confirm 5G networks deployed are trustworthy.

According to Berry, the campaign is beginning to bear fruit and new standards for securing networks are being created around the globe. Berry said that as of yet, the best practices for building secure 5G networks, recommended by the U.S. State Department, are laid out in the EU’s Toolbox on Cybersecurity, CSIS’s Principles of Trust and Security, and the Prague Principle.

“The Prague Principle does a great job explaining what the criteria are for developing trusted networks,” added Lewis, detailing that the principles were developed about a year ago, when the Secretary of State worked with the Czech government to create standards for installing 5G networks securely.

Rinaldo, who as senior vice president of Beacon Global Strategies operated the Open RAN Policy Coalition, detailed the U.S. strategy for generating secure networks: utilizing domestically created technology and an open radio access network strategy.

Rinaldo, who served as acting administrator of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, explained open RAN as the notion of taking the current 5G network architecture, which for the most part is a closed proprietary system, and standardizing each aspect of technology, between the radio, the software, and the hardware.

The open RAN strategy aims to create a robust and diverse supply chain, ultimately creating more competition and lowering prices.

Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark moderated the session, which is just one of five events in the event series, “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G,” that is sponsored by Samsung Electronic America.

‘A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G’ sponsored by:

Events in A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G” include:

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: The Hype and the Reality of 5G
    • This opening panel will set the stage for Broadband Breakfast Live Online’s consideration of the policy, technology and practical questions around the 5G wireless standard. What is 5G, and why is there so much buzz about it? How much of an improvement is it over prior generations of wireless? In other words: What is real, and what is hype? How the issues of trusted partners, rights-of-way deployment, and spectrum policy interact? Where is 5G seeing early successes, and what are the stumbling blocks?”
  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: National Security and Trusted Partners
    • This panel will consider the global landscape for the 5G equipment ecosystem. It will consider issues in core networks, radio access networks and in handset equipment. How has the global landscape changed? Will 5G benefit from – or suffer because of – a new Cold War with China? How are American companies reacting to federal government initiatives for trusted partners? Where can the U.S. turn for solutions and alternatives to Chinese manufacturers?
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: A Case Study of Transformative Apps in the Enterprise
    • 5G is seeing its first real successes in the enterprise marketplace. To glimpse the future more accurately, Broadband Breakfast Live Online will consider case studies of applications in enterprise environments. What technologies and processes bring 5G success to the business marketplace? What needs to happen to bring 5G successes to the consumer marketplace?
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Wireless Infrastructure, Municipal Rights-of-Way and the 5G Rural Fund
    • To realize the promise of 5G, far more base stations — wireless infrastructure facilities — will be necessary. 5G facilities and towers may not be as big as in previous generations of wireless technology. Still, the need for far more facilities has already created tensions with municipalities over rights-of-way. How can these conflicts be minimized? What are smart cities already doing to expedite wireless infrastructure deployment? Can the process be improved? Additionally, how will the FCC’s Rural Fund for 5G affect deployment?
  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Spectrum Policies to Advance Better Broadband
    • More than simply the next generation of wireless technology, 5G deployments make use of radio frequencies from an extremely wide range. For example, some 5G deployment are using mid-band spectrum between 3.4 GigaHertz (GHz) and 6 GHz. But 5G networks also promise tap into spectrum between 24 GHz and 100 GHz. It deploys these millimeter bands using network slicing and other advanced wireless tools. What new spectrum policies are necessary for 5G to flourish?
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FCC Permit ‘Shot Clocks’ Provides ‘Predictability’ to Wireless Infrastructure Builds: T-Mobile

Shot clocks are important to industry players, argued T-Mobile’s Tim Halinski.

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Photo of Nancy Werner, partner at Bradley Werner, LLC.

WASHINGTON, November 8, 2022 – Panelists on a Federal Communications Bar Association web panel discussed Monday whether benefits of the Federal Communications Commission’s “shot clocks,” which limit how long states and local governments can review wireless infrastructure applications, outweigh the increased pressures they place on state and local governments.

A shot clock’s deadline puts pressure on city officials’ negotiations with providers over the terms of infrastructure projects, said Nancy Werner, partner at Bradley Werner, LLC, a telecommunications legal and consulting firm. They also “put a lot of pressure on local governments…to make sure (they) have a reason to deny” a provider’s application if an agreement cannot be readily reached, Werner added.

Tim Halinski, corporate counsel for T-Mobile, argued Monday that shot clocks are important to industry players, although he acknowledged the validity of Werner’s concerns. T-Mobile and other providers benefit from expeditious permitting processes, as they look to accelerate the build out of 5G wireless technology.

“There’s no one size fits all,” Halinski said, “But it’s at least the starting point and provides that predictability in deployment that we need.”

The comments come as the FCC fields comments on new standards that would streamline the division of costs between third party attachers and pole owners. Critics say the financial and time delay burden in getting access to these poles have slowed and will slow the expansion of broadband in the country.

In 2018, the FCC instituted shortened shot clocks for small wireless infrastructure projects: “60 days for review of an application for collocation…using a preexisting structure and 90 days for review of an application for attachment…using a new structure.” The commission said the new, limited timeframes would facilitate the deployment of wireless infrastructure.

The FCC’s revised shot clocks for small wireless deployments was but one portion of the agency’s so-called “Small Cell Order” of 2018, which aimed to promote the expansion of 5G. To accomplish this goal, however, the order sought to eliminate regulatory roadblocks by limiting state and local governments’ authorities over wireless infrastructure permitting and their own rights of way. This tactic drew criticisms from many experts and local officials.

Nonetheless, in August 2020, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld the order in City of Portland v. United States.

“(The Ninth Circuit’s) decision is a massive victory for U.S. leadership in 5G, our nation’s economy and American consumers,” said then–FCC Chairman Ajit Pai shortly after the ruling. “The court rightly affirmed the FCC’s efforts to ensure that infrastructure deployment critical to 5G…is not impeded by exorbitant fees imposed by state and local governments.”

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5G Demand Needs More Fiber Infrastructure, Conference Hears

‘We’re in the early innings now of this 5G evolution and really the fourth industrial revolution,’ said a Verizon partner.

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Screenshot of Jeff Hulse, vice president of Verizon Partner Solutions, (left) and Curtis Heffelfinger, vice president of wholesale sales at Brightspeed.

DENVER, October 26, 2022 – More fiber deployment is “critical” to meet increasing demands for 5G, said a telecom executive at the 2022 INCOMPAS Show.

“[Fiber]’s where the industry is shifting and you’re going to have to shift with the industry,” Curtis Heffelfinger, vice president of wholesale sales at telecom Brightspeed, said on a Monday panel.

5G wireless builds will use fiber to many cell sites to deliver on the promise of ubiquitous connectivity in many areas. 5G technology promises faster cell speeds and lower latency – the time it takes for a communication to be sent from a device to a network and back.

“Today we’re in the early innings now of this 5G evolution and really the fourth industrial revolution,” said Jeff Hulse, vice president of Verizon Partner Solutions.

Industry incumbents are moving toward rapid expansion of fiber builds. Just last week, Bloomberg reported AT&T is in talks to initiate an eight-figure fiber-deployment project.

Hulse said his company is “thinking big about big bandwidth,” and although Verizon has “a ton of legacy products out there on copper wires,” the telecom giant is working to transition networks towards the future.  Heffelfinger said Brightspeed is modernizing as well, although it also still owns many “aged assets.”

The INCOMPAS Show is a communications industry event that facilitates networking and business deals. The 2020 show, held in Denver, featured executives from Verizon, DISH, FiberLight, and other industry players, as well as officials from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and state broadband offices.

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Johnny Kampis: Wireless Survey Shows 5G’s Role in Closing Digital Divide

5G has experienced a quantum leap in growth since it first began rolling out in 2018.

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The author of this Expert Opinion in Johnny Kampis of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance

There was universal consensus that 5G wireless technology would be a game changer for closing the digital divide. The question was whether or not private investment would be enough to deploy the needed infrastructure. A new report shows that capital expenditures from wireless providers reached a record high in 2021, as 5G saw tremendous growth and will continue to help connect households now unserved by broadband.

CTIA’s 2022 Annual Wireless Industry Survey shows that wireless providers invested $35 billion into growing and improving their networks, the fourth consecutive year of industry growth.

CTIA said this is “a powerful trend that emphasizes the societal importance of wireless connectivity and underlines the industry’s commitment to building a robust platform for innovation that connects all communities.”

5G has experienced a quantum leap in growth since it first began rolling out in 2018, as infrastructure reforms that eased deployment barriers have resulted in 5G growing twice as fast as 4G. Since the Federal Communications Commission and state legislatures worked to modernize key siting regulations that could have stymied the technology’s growth, wireless providers have added 70,000 active cell sites. There are now nearly 420,000 operational cell sites across the U.S.

As CTIA notes, “More cell sites enhance coverage, encouraging adoptions and helping to close the digital divide.”

Clearly consumers want faster mobile internet speeds as the number of connective 5G devices grew more than a whopping 500 percent this past year from 14 million to Accenture 85 million. About one-third of American now possess an active 5G device.

CTIA points out that the number of connections that require wireless technology is helping fuel the growth – everything from smart watches to medical sensors. Such data-only devices represent about 42 percent of all wireless connections.

Wireless providers have invested nearly $121 billion into their networks since the launch of 5G.

CTIA notes that in an age of incredible inflation, the wireless industry’s investment, combined with increased market competition, has led to lower prices, “providing a welcome contrast to an economy where consumers have faced priced increases for 94 percent of tracked goods and services nationwide.”

Since 2010, the cost of unlimited data plans has declined 43 percent while wireless speeds have increased 85-fold over the same period.

Investment and competition have also led to new innovations such as 5G for home broadband and 5G fixed wireless. The latter is particularly useful in connecting rural areas where it’s hard to make a business case for fiber due to the cost of the last-mile connections. CTIA notes that 5G home broadband is available in more than 40 million households, providing home connections via spectrum with high capacity and low latency rather than a wired connection.

The report also points out that 5G is helping mitigate the impacts of climate change by creating green jobs in key industries. Accenture has found that 5G-enabled use cases should delivers 20 percent of the U.S.’s emission reduction targets by 2025.

5G is clearly helping usher in a new age of connectivity in this country. CTIA’s statistics are encouraging signs that the latest wireless technology is helping make broadband access available to more Americans than ever before. The best part of this growth is that taxpayer dollars are not being spent.

Johnny Kampis is director of telecom policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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