The Biden Administration views the future of 5G telecommunications as a key national security issue and a “transformative” technology, Anne Neuberger said today.

Neuberger, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Tech on the National Security Council, also spoke of the importance of collaboration between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia at the Quad Open RAN Forum July 28.

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Open Radio Access Network (RAN) is the idea of decentralizing the operating systems wireless networks have typically run on. The United States, India, Japan, and Australia are four of the 35 countries that Open RAN has been deployed in, according to the Open RAN Policy Coalition, and believe the technology will help provide secure and trusted network infrastructure.

Neuberger stressed the importance of securing such networks, especially as 5G technology becomes more widespread.

“5G is transformative, and it will touch every aspect of our lives will underpin critical infrastructure such as transportation electricity distribution, and enable advances, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, because of the large amount of data that can be collected, autonomous vehicles and remote healthcare, and perhaps other applications we can’t even think of the reach,” Neuberger during a webinar organized by the coalition. “The transformative power of 5G technology means the stakes for securing these networks are incredibly high,” she said.

Neuberger said securing 5G networks should be a priority for the nation’s cybersecurity and economic security as they are building out their 5G networks.

“5G is the very description of critical infrastructure security,” Neuberger said. “Governments, telecommunication operators, and all industry and network users have to prioritize security when building out their 5G networks. National measures must be crafted first to address security risks but also to address non-technical risks.”

Neuberger added that the United States is committed to working with allies on making 5G networks interoperable and secure. She added that President Biden’s executive order on competition was a key to introducing more competition in the telecommunications market.

Open RAN can help in the cybersecurity of telecommunications networks by improving operators’ visibility into the functioning of the networks, according to Neuberger.

“In order to enjoy the benefits of 5G, countries – from a national security perspective – and citizens – from personal civil liberties and privacy perspective – need to be able to trust that 5G equipment and software won’t introduce risks that threaten their national security, human security or civil rights,” Neuberger said.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.