A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would boost the “representation and leadership” of U.S. firms when it comes to 5G technology.
The bill, from U.S. Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, aims to combat China’s rising influence with the technology by creating standards for the 5G network. While it doesn’t request additional funding, it does want the State Department to use existing money to fund the effort.
The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas.
“China’s majority control of the world’s 5G networks, interconnected devices and cloud storage is a risk we cannot accept,” McCaul said Monday (July 15) in a statement to Reuters. “We have to show up and compete with them.”
The news comes as a Defense Innovation Board report in April warned that if China wins the race for 5G control, the use of the nation’s technology in networks abroad “would create security risks” for Department of Defense operations overseas. In addition, China’s mobile and internet applications and services are “likely to become dominant,” which would shut out U.S. vendors, limit competition and deprive U.S. industry of “better and cheaper” supply chains.
Analysts and industry insiders had warned that China’s development of 5G could be delayed after the Trump Administration added Huawei to a blacklist, making it difficult for Huawei to do business with companies in the U.S. But the United States removed certain restrictions on earlier this month, allowing American firms to ship goods to the company.
It was a move that not everyone was happy with, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and others voicing their concerns about the company, and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida warning that legislation could be passed to keep restrictions on Huawei in place.
“If President Trump has in fact bargained away the recent restrictions on #Huawei, then we will have to get those restrictions put back in place through legislation,” Rubio tweeted at the time. “And it will pass with a large veto-proof majority.”