In March 2020, President Trump signed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act and the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act into law. In a nutshell, the first act requires the president to secure and protect 5G technology, whereas the second is meant to improve maps detailing where broadband isn’t available in the US.
The 5G act requires that within 180 days, the president must submit a plan for deploying a secure 5G network. The president is required to work with the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other related agencies in addition to submitting that plan to Congress.
5G is the next generation in wireless technology and will bring about higher speeds, faster latency and increased bandwidth across the various networks. 5G is promised to bring the technologies needed for autonomous cars and improved virtual reality. In the race to get 5G nationwide coverage first, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all started rolling out their 5G networks in 2019.
To bring proper internet coverage in underserved areas of the US, the Broadband DATA Act will improve what information the FCC collects about broadband access, so the government has a better understanding of where coverage is and isn’t.
The law also lists out new rules for data collection the FCC is required to follow to “establish a process to verify the accuracy of such data and more.” The FCC has already started improving its mapping by crowdsourcing the accuracy in the data. The FCC has already taken steps to improve mapping accuracy by having the data verified through crowdsourcing.
Frank Pallone (D) the leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Greg Walden (R) from Oregon both support the passage of these bills.
“The bills signed into law today by the president are critical to ensuring that all Americans can access broadband and that our networks are secure and trusted,” the committee said in a statement. “The need for connectivity is even more critical now that millions of Americans are teleworking and learning from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman, also supported the Broadband DATA legislation and hopes that Congress will fund the implementation.
“It is vital for Congress to provide the FCC as soon as possible with the appropriations necessary to implement the Act,” he said. “Right now, the FCC does not have the funding to carry out the Act, as we have warned for some time.”
Pai noted that without funding from Congress, “this well-intentioned legislation will have the unfortunate effect of delaying rather than expediting the development of better broadband maps.”