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6G: Open and Resilient by Design: Opening Remarks by Alan Davidson Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information

6G: Open and Resilient by Design
The White House and National Science Foundation
Opening Remarks by Alan Davidson
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Washington, DC
April 21, 2023
As prepared for delivery

Welcome, all. I am grateful for Congresswoman Matsui and Senator Luján’s presence here today as well as the U.S. and international industry, academia, and government agencies in attendance. I look forward to discussing 6G and how we can work with our partners to promote open, interoperable, secure, and reliable approaches to this technology. 

We are in the midst of a long boom of mobile communications connectivity and productivity. From 3G to 4G to 5G, advances in mobile data in particular have brought the Internet to billions of people around the world. It has been an amazing success story, powered by global standards and technology innovation. 6G will be the next step in that evolution and revolution. 

It may seem strange to be talking about 6G at a time when so many Americans and people around the world are still just learning about 5G and the promises it holds. But we know from past experience that we need to be planning ahead. It is so important for policymakers to look ahead to this next-generation technology and how we can harness the innovations it will bring.

To start, 6G will be deployed at a time when mobile connectivity has become centrally important in our daily lives. But in a 6G world, our phones may not be the most important device we carry.  

The possibility of ubiquitous connectivity with 6G could enable the ability to sense the environment, people and objects. This could usher in a new era of situational awareness as well as sustainability and sector efficiencies. But it also raises questions about how authoritarian governments could deploy this technology for further surveillance – and control — of their citizens.

Another key aspect of 6G is network virtualization and openness, which presents incredible possibilities including:

  • Maximizing the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning throughout the network stack.
  • Facilitating ubiquitous coverage, including the most hard-to-reach areas, and providing the user with a seamless connectivity experience. 
  • Reduced power consumption and increased energy efficiency.

At NTIA, we are excited to help usher in this virtualization and openness through our $1.5 billion Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund. This fund will support both 5G and 6G by spurring development of open, interoperable, and standards-based networks. These networks will almost certainly make up the backbone of 6G. I’m grateful for the cooperation between the executive and legislative branches that led to this fund. I look forward to working closely with our Congressional colleagues on implementation.

That brings me to our discussion with Congressional leaders now. Senator Luján and Congresswoman Matsui, thank you both for being here today. You both bring a unique perspective to the conversation. 

Senator Luján, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee, is a champion for closing the digital divide and making sure no one is left behind as we move to next-generation technologies.

Congresswoman Matsui, Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Communications Subcommittee, is a long-time advocate for smart spectrum policy. We appreciate your leadership on these issues.