Senators Collins, King, & Bipartisan Group Urge Funding for Secure 5G Networks

In a letter to Biden, Senators urge President to request at least $3 billion for open-architecture alternatives to Chinese vendors like Huawei

Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging President Joe Biden to request at least $3 billion as part of his budget request to Congress for the adoption of 5G alternatives to Chinese-made equipment.  Specifically, the Senators urged Biden to request at least $1.5 billion each for two funds established by Congress to encourage the adoption of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) equipment, which would allow additional vendors to enter the 5G market.  This would also create competition with manufacturers like Huawei, which is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government.

 

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 established the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund and the Multilateral Telecommunications Security Fund.  These Funds provide critical foundations for robust, secure, and efficient 5G networks, and will be integral to the ability of the United States and its allies to adopt Open RAN equipment at a scale necessary to compete with the equipment vendors of our strategic rivals, including China.

 

“Current RAN infrastructure relies on closed, end-to-end hardware solutions that are expensive to operate and dominated by foreign companies.  For example, Huawei, a company with inextricable links to the Chinese government and a history of disregard for the intellectual property rights of U.S. companies, offers end-to-end RAN hardware, which poses significant counterintelligence concerns,” the Senators wrote.  “For years, we have called on telecommunications providers in the U.S., as well as our allies and partners, to reject Huawei 5G technology, but we have not provided competitively-priced, innovative alternatives that would address their needs.”

 

In addition to Senators Collins and King, the letter was signed by bipartisan members of the Senate Intelligence Committee: Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

 

Click HERE to read the full letter.