U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced a bipartisan bill to support U.S. competitiveness in innovation and technology and strengthen Nevada’s 21st-century economy. Her legislation with Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) establishes a national strategy based on an expert council to implement future telecom networks, including sixth-generation (6G).
Cortez Masto’s Next Generation Telecommunications Act would establish a group to advise Congress on the next generation of telecommunications services, including 6G and other wireless communications. The expert council would develop a national telecom strategy, including focusing on America’s global leadership in broadband, expanding the telecom workforce and making sure that telecommunication networks are resilient and secure. This approach to creating a national strategy on broadband is modeled after the successful Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which took a similar approach to strengthening America’s cybersecurity.
“I’ve been leading on broadband access throughout my time in the Senate,” said Cortez Masto. “Nevada companies are working on innovative solutions to modern problems, leading the way in clean energy, clean transportation, and smart communities. Those technologies rely on reliable internet access. So, we’ve got to promote American competitiveness in these kind of cutting-edge technologies that we’re building in Nevada. That means improving access to quality broadband, ensuring we have the necessary workforce, and putting in safeguards to make sure we protect emerging technologies. I’ll keep working to ensure that Nevada and America are positioned to lead, enabling us to create good-paying jobs.”
Matt Mandel, senior vice president of government and public affairs for the Wireless Industry Association (WIA) said that WIA supports the Next Generation Telecommunications Act.
“There is no better way to ensure the United States remains the global leader in deploying future broadband networks, including 6G, than for Congress to work with experts in the industry to develop a national strategy in advance,” Mandel said. “I commend the bipartisan leadership and collective foresight of Sens. Cortez Masto, Thune, Wicker and Schumer in introducing this legislation.”
Wicker said that as China and other countries seek to exploit communications networks for surveillance and intellectual property theft, the United States needs a cohesive strategy for the safe deployment of next-generation wireless technologies.
“Stronger cooperation between private industry and the federal government would promote U.S. leadership as we develop secure, innovative 6G networks,” Wicker said.
Thune said that ensuring the United States remains a leader in next-generation communications has long been one of his priorities.
“This bill would allow the United States to continue competing on the global stage, and it would help prepare the United States to lead the way in deploying next-generation technology, including 6G,” Thune said. “I’ll continue to work on bipartisan solutions that will increase innovation and bolster the private sector’s ability to compete in this emerging space.”
Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said that the legislation would ensure that low-income and rural families have access to cutting-edge telecommunications technology.
“As the race to 5G continues, companies in upstate New York are making sure that America remains competitive,” Shumer said. “With the Next Generation Telecommunications Act, we are making sure that the United States is the lead innovator of high-speed internet technologies.”
Cortez Masto has led in the Senate to improve broadband access, including in rural communities, and strengthen Nevada’s economy, according to a statement from her office. Most recently, the statement reads, she advocated for provisions in the bipartisan Senate infrastructure package to invest in broadband. It said that in 2020, she passed her bipartisan Access Broadband Act to foster the development and growth of broadband resources for businesses as well as underserved urban and rural communities in Nevada through improved access and transparency of federal broadband programs.
The text of the bill is available here.