House lawmakers on Jan. 8 passed two telecommunication bills promoting United States leadership in 5G infrastructure and systems.

If signed into law, H.R. 3763 would require the Secretary of State to develop a strategy promoting U.S. leadership of 5G systems and infrastructure to international standards-setting bodies. The strategy would outline diplomatic engagement tactics with allies to share telecommunications security risk intel, and methods to mitigate those risks.

Also known as the Promoting U.S. International Leadership in 5G Act of 2019, the legislation requests a brief from the State Department on Chinese infrastructure security risks, and engagement with international standards-setting bodies.

“Massive networks in the United States and allied countries could become vulnerable to spying eyes and cyberattacks. That’s why there is the universal agreement on both sides of the aisle that American leadership will be essential as we transition to 5G technology, both to seize on the opportunities and guard against risk,” Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said about H.R. 3763.

The Promoting U.S. Wireless Leadership Act of 2019, H.R. 4500, also passed with an emphasis on enhancing U.S. reputation and leadership in the international telecommunications community. This legislation would require the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Commerce Department to work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology on promoting U.S. interests and expertise.

Specifically, the Assistant Secretary would be responsible for briefing House committees on ways to offer technical expertise to relevant stakeholders to facilitate participation in international telecommunication standards-setting.

“This legislation will give stakeholders the ability to better engage in policy choices that are being made today by these standards-setting bodies and which will have far-reaching implications for the development of 5G and other advanced communication technologies in the future,” Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., said.

Both bills are awaiting consideration in the Senate.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.