US signs on to international principles for 6G

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In conjunction with nine other countries, the U.S. released six new principles intended to guide a global 6G wireless connectivity adoption.

The White House issued a joint statement together with the governments from Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom on a series of new shared principles on 6G spectrum research and development. 

Shared on Monday, the six principles are focused on securing global telecommunications infrastructure and will help inform relevant policy adoption. They include installing technology systems that protect national security; secure individual communications and privacy; work with industry partners to set inclusive international standards; cooperate to enable interoperability and innovation; ensure global connectivity is both affordable and sustainable; and manage spectrum allocations.

“We believe this to be an indispensable contribution towards building a more inclusive, sustainable, secure, and peaceful future for all, and call upon other governments, organizations, and stakeholders to join us in supporting and upholding these principles,” the press release reads. 

Sixth generation — or 6G — spectrum is the planned step up from 5G that is currently under development in many nations to allow for greater data transmission at a faster rate across digital networks. As the foundation for modern communications, including the personalized and hyperconnected internet-of-things, telecommunications infrastructure and its security at a hardware and software level have become a geopolitical talking point

The shared principles aim to foster an international agreement in how to develop and deploy more secure 6G technologies and architectures. This includes researching how more emergent systems — namely artificial intelligence, software-defined networking, and virtualization — can be leveraged for greater security and interoperability.

Finland and Sweden are home to telecom companies Nokia and Ericsson, respectively, which were listed as industry partners in research on 5G wireless communications prototyping by the Pentagon in 2020. 

By contrast, China — home to telecom provider Huawei, whose systems have been prohibited by U.S. oversight agencies due to spyware and surveillance concerns — is notably absent from the list of nations joining the 6G principles.

“Collaboration and unity are key to resolving pressing challenges in the development of 6G, and we hereby declare our intention to adopt relevant policies to this end in our countries, to encourage the adoption of such policies in third countries, and to advance research and development and standardization of 6G network,” the release said.