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



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?


Google, Reliant On Success of 5G, Says It Wants Government-Funded Test Beds for Open RAN

Company says that the next generation of its products depend on 5G progress.



Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

WASHINGTON, October 20, 2021 — Google made its case for regulators to make room for greater public-private collaboration in the wake of 5G and more research into open radio access network technologies.

Speaking at the FCBA’s “What’s New and Next in Wireless” session on Tuesday, Michael Purdy from Google’s product and policy team emphasized Google’s interest in the emerging 5G landscape, but wants a “collaborative environment” for innovation.

“5G is exciting because of Google’s products depend on 5G,” he said. “[Our] products can’t come to market without it.” Google’s recent product launches include smart-home technologies. Purdy says their products’ benefits are enhanced as 5G is deployed.

Google, like the technology sector at large, is building on the innovation that the “app economy” produced using existing 4G technology and plans to expand their software capabilities with 5G. “The app economy benefited consumers,” Purdy says. “Our lifestyles are going to depend on 5G.” For telehealth, “real time medical advice needs low latency [and] high speeds.”

However, Google hopes for better regulatory conditions during 5G deployment. “We haven’t been as focused on the FCC [for guidance] . . . we want stability to determine spectrum policy.”

Purdy said the company hopes to work collaboratively with government to find solutions for wider 5G deployment. “[We] want to know what position the government takes in creating an open RAN environment.”

The company said it wants government funded-test beds for open RAN, research into development to ensure that “the downside costs are defrayed.” In overcoming these challenges to 5G deployment, Purdy said Google wants the government to foster a “collaborative environment” to develop open RAN. “We don’t want government picking winners and losers in the innovation process” he said.

Purdy added that spectrum sharing between licensed and unlicensed users “can be good for consumers and for industry.”

The Federal Communications Commission has pushed for ways to develop open RAN to minimize network security risk, as the movement has gained significant momentum. FCC Acting Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has described open RAN as having “extraordinary potential for our economy and national security.”

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Huawei Avoids Network Security Questions, Pushes 5G Innovation

Huawei’s CTO avoided questions about concerns over its network infrastructure security as countries ban its products.



Huawei carrier business CTO Paul Scanlan.

WASHINGTON, October 19, 2021 — Huawei’s chief technology officer did not address questions Monday about the company’s network security practices during a session on how 5G drives economic growth, but said the focus should be on the evolutionary technology instead.

Paul Scanlan, Huawei’s CTO in the carrier business group, focused his presentation at the Economist Impact Innovation@Work conference on the promise of 5G technology and ignored concerns about network safety.

“We can service more customers with 5G” to start bridging the digital divide, he said. The pandemic has given the company an insight into customer behavior to better channel its data traffic needs. “5G performs better for the types of services we use now” he says, such as video streaming and user-generated content.

Scanlan avoided specific questions about his company’s technology and steered the conversation toward providing faster speeds for the health care industry. “Give me some use instances where the company has introduced 5G and helped companies be efficient” asked the moderator, Ludwig Siegele. “I’d like to stick on the health care sector, that’s more topical as you can imagine,” Scanlan responded.

“People are missing [innovation in 5G] because of geopolitical issues around the world,” said Scanlan. “Being able to collect the data and analyze it is where the business benefit lies . . . 5G adoption through the [standardized network] ecosystem is very important and we see this with 5G” for interoperability with other companies and providers.

Huawei’s promotion of their telecommunications products continues as the U.S. maintains national security sanctions against the tech giant. The impact of U.S. sanctions results a drop in sales for the company in 2021. The FCC has also recommended that Huawei’s equipment be listed as “high risk” to U.S. network security. Huawei told the FCC it cannot show the company’s equipment is a threat to U.S. networks.

Huawei’s global head of cybersecurity said this summer that President Joe Biden‘s executive order banning investments in Chinese companies is a “policy misstep” that will not only lose the U.S. a huge market, but will just make the company more self-sufficient.

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Celebrating Progress on 5G, the FCC’s Brendan Carr Urges Broadband Mapping

5G crusader Commissioner Brendan Carr voiced pride in the FCC’s focus on 5G over the past four years



Photo of Brendan Carr from the Tennessee Star

WASHINGTON, October 15, 2021–Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr on Friday celebrated U.S. progress in 5G wireless investment and urged the completion of the agency’s broadband mapping initiative.

Speaking a the Free State Foundation gala luncheon, Carr argued that the United States has progressed in its 5G investments and is catching up to foreign networks. ”Years ago we imaged the U.S. would be left behind in 5G,” he said.

He touted his and former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to “remove the red tape.” Enabling the private sector has paid off, he said: The U.S. has jumped 20 places on the country internet speed index, signaling the installation of more robust U.S. 5G networks.

Further, the FCC should complete its broadband mapping process and take caution with the federal money allocated toward broadband deployment, he said, adding that he asked the FCC earlier this year to complete its map by fall 2021.

“There’s planning that can take place when the maps are completed” he said, reflecting a desire from the public and private sector for better, more accurate broadband maps.

He also said that federal money allocated toward the FCC’s efforts to bridge the digital divide should be used carefully, and that money to connect unconnected Americas should not be wasted.

Carr celebrated American investment in 5G progress earlier this year, calling U.S. leadership in 5G “one of the greatest success stories in of the past four years.” In that time, the FCC opened up more than six gigahertz of spectrum for 5G services.

Former FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly also gave remarks at the event, expressing concern about the federal Made In America policy’s implications on the telecommunications sector.

The Made in America policy refers to President Biden’s push to increase American made content in supply chains. O’Rielly, who left the Commission in December 2020, argued that the policy limits telecommunications companies to the kinds of products that can be made available to consumers.

The Free State Foundation’s Randy May at the Friday event

He also questioned “what it means to be an American manufacturer” because foreign companies are “in essence, being punished by law” for having “investments in the U.S. with U.S. workers as part of a U.S. subsidiary.”

In O’Rielly’s view, the location of the companies headquarters does not impact its national security risk to the U.S.

The remarks by Carr and O’Rielly were at the 15th anniversary celebration for the free-market think tank. Carr said that the foundation has been an “invaluable resource” and has been cited more than 200 times in FCC decisions.

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