President Trump on Monday signed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020, an important step in getting the U.S. ready to roll out the fifth-generation wireless network securely.
The bill, which was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier this year, requires Trump to create and implement a plan for adopting secure 5G technology in the U.S. and abroad. Its text states that Trump must consult with the heads of the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and several other agencies and submit to Congress a strategy for rolling out secure 5G within 180 days.
Some telecom companies began rolling out 5G last year. The new technology is far faster and more powerful than its predecessors, though experts point out that can also make it harder for end-users to notice they're under attack.
In a statement, the Energy and Commerce Committee, a bipartisan congressional committee, praised the new act, noting that the need for 5G is even more critical during the coronavirus crisis since millions of Americans are working and being schooled from home. "We must prepare our networks for the 5G future and ensure federal agencies work together on a comprehensive plan to identify and address security risks in 5G and future wireless technologies," the statement read. "The Secure 5G and Beyond Act requires exactly that."
In his own written statement, Trump addressed the fact that the bill requires him to get some aspects of his plan approved by the FCC. "My understanding is that this provision does not preclude me or future Presidents from exercising our constitutional authorities as the 'sole organ' of the Nation in foreign relations and as the head of the unitary Executive Branch to ensure proper implementation of the entire strategy," he wrote.