House Energy & Commerce Leaders Seek $750M in Funding for Network Security

A bipartisan group of leaders from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, consisting of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Full Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) announced that they sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee last week seeking at least $750 million in funding in fiscal year 2022 for “critical network security initiatives authorized under the USA Telecommunications Act.”

According to the press release, the USA Telecommunications Act of 2020,created the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Reportedly, “(t)his program supports the promotion and deployment of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) 5G networks throughout the United States – widely known to be a highly secure communications network.”

“This technology will be key for creating a safer and more secure communications system for hundreds of millions of people across the country who rely on the internet every day,” the bipartisan lawmakers wrote. “As the size, scale, and frequency of cyber incidents continue to increase, so too should our commitment to the goal of ensuring American communications networks are as safe and secure as possible.”

The lawmakers requested the funding for the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund in order to enable the “promotion and deployment of more secure communications networking technology and equipment.”

Additionally, this comes after the Federal Communications Commission labeled five Chinese telecommunications companies national security threats, particularly for 5G deployment.