August 13, 2019

Setting the Stage for U.S. Leadership in 6G

Every day there are more headlines about China’s rise in 5G, the next generation of wireless communications technologies, and the economic and national security risksto the United States that go along with these developing technologies. These concerns, particularly the threat of critical infrastructure disruptions, are valid—but the plight of the United States is in part self-inflicted. The U.S. government waited too long to tackle the difficult issues surrounding 5G. As a result, China has unprecedented clout on the global stage regarding the deployment and diffusion of advanced communications technologies.

The United States must learn from this experience and act to remain at the forefront in this critical area to help protect U.S. economic vitality and national security. Though it may sound premature, now is the time to focus on what comes next: 6G.

Even though 5G deployments are in their infancy and at risk of becoming trite as a policy concern, the long time horizons for technology development in this field mean that U.S. political and industry leaders cannot afford to wait when it comes to 6G. These advances will bring opportunities for breakthroughs in data transmission over shorter wavelengths than 5G—meaning much greater bandwidth at higher speeds—which are likely needed to truly achieve a true revolution in mobile networks. It will also create openings to upend the current hardware-focused market by promoting a software-focused one, with expected benefits in security, cost, supply-chain diversity and more competitive markets.

Read the full article in Lawfare.

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