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Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 17, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 6624) to support supply chain innovation and multilateral security, and for other purposes.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 6624

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act of 2020'' or the ``USA Telecommunications Act''. SEC. 2. WIRELESS SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATION GRANT PROGRAM.

(a) In General.--From amounts made available under subsection (d), the Assistant Secretary shall, beginning not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, make grants on a competitive basis to support the deployment and use of Open RAN 5G Networks throughout the United States by--

(1) promoting the use of technology, including software, hardware, and microprocessing technology, that will enhance competitiveness in the supply chains of Open RAN 5G Networks;

(2) accelerating the deployment of Open Network Equipment;

(3) promoting the use of Open Network Equipment;

(4) establishing objective criteria that can be used to determine if equipment meets the definition of Open Network Equipment;

(5) promoting the inclusion of security features that enhance the integrity and availability of Open Network Equipment; or

(6) promoting the application of network function virtualization to facilitate the deployment of Open RAN 5G Networks and a more diverse vendor market.

(b) Grant Criteria.--The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (commonly known as ``DARPA''), and the Director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (commonly known as ``IARPA''), shall establish the criteria under which the Assistant Secretary shall award a grant under subsection (a).

(c) Reports to Congress.--

(1) Annual report on grants made.--For each fiscal year for which amounts are available to make grants under subsection (a), the Assistant Secretary shall submit to the relevant committees of Congress a report that includes, with respect to that fiscal year--

(A) a description of--

(i) to whom grants under subsection (a) were made, the amount thereof, and criteria used to award such grants; and

(ii) the progress the Assistant Secretary has made in meeting the objectives described in subsection (a) of the grant program under this section; and

(B) any additional information that the Assistant Secretary determines appropriate.

(2) Report on 5g network supply chain.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall submit to the relevant committees of Congress a written report--

(A) that includes recommendations on promoting the competitiveness and sustainability of trusted Open RAN 5G Networks; and

(B) identifying whether any additional authorities are needed by the Assistant Secretary to facilitate the timely adoption of Open Network Equipment, including the authority to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of credit extension that would maximize the use of grant amounts awarded under this section.

(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--

(1) Amount authorized.--There is authorized to be appropriated to make grants under subsection (a) $750,000,000 for fiscal years 2021 through 2031.

(2) Availability.--Amounts made available under paragraph (1) shall remain available through fiscal year 2031. SEC. 3. ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

(a) Establishment.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish an Advisory Committee to advise the Assistant Secretary in the manner described in subsection (c).

(b) Composition.--The Advisory Committee established under subsection (a) shall be composed of--

(1) representatives from--

(A) the Commission;

(B) the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (commonly known as ``DARPA'');

(C) the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (commonly known as ``IARPA'');

(D) the National Institute of Standards and Technology;

(E) the Department of State;

(F) the National Science Foundation; and

(G) the Department of Homeland Security; and

(2) other representatives from the private and public sectors, at the discretion of the Assistant Secretary.

(c) Duties.--The Advisory Committee established under subsection (a) shall be used to advise the Assistant Secretary on technology developments to help inform--

(1) the strategic direction of the grant program established under section 2; and

(2) efforts of the Federal Government to promote a more secure, diverse, sustainable, and competitive supply chain for Open RAN 5G Networks. SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) 3gpp.--The term ``3GPP'' means the Third Generation Partnership Project.

(2) 5g network.--The term ``5G network'' means a radio network as described by 3GPP Release 15 or higher, or any successor network.

(3) Assistant secretary.--The term ``Assistant Secretary'' means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.

(4) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal Communications Commission.

(5) Open network equipment.--The term ``Open Network Equipment'' means equipment that follows a set of open standards (such as O-RAN standards or the Open Radio Access Network approach to standardization, adopted by the O-RAN Alliance, 3GPP, or other organization) and open interfaces for multi-vendor network equipment interoperability, such that the equipment may be integrated into the Radio Access Networks of an Open RAN 5G Network.

(6) Open ran 5g network.--The term ``Open RAN 5G Network'' means a 5G network that follows a set of open standards (such as O-RAN standards or the Open Radio Access Network approach to standardization, adopted by the O-RAN Alliance, 3GPP, or other organizations) and open interfaces for multi-vendor network equipment interoperability.

(7) Relevant committees of congress.--The term ``relevant committees of Congress'' means--

(A) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives;

(B) the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives;

(C) the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives;

(D) the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives;

(E) the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives;

(F) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;

(G) the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate;

(H) the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(I) the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; and

(J) the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate.

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Mr. PALLONE. 6624.

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 6624, the USA Telecommunications Act.

Earlier this year, the House passed, and the President signed, my Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to create a program to fund the replacement of suspect network equipment. Suspect equipment, including that produced by Huawei and ZTE, could allow foreign adversaries to surveil Americans at home or, worse, disrupt our communications systems.

While we are still pushing for Congress to appropriate funds to that end, it is important to recognize that my legislation was only half the battle, even when it is funded. We also need to create and foster competition for trusted network equipment that uses open interfaces so that the United States is not beholden to a market for network equipment that is becoming less competitive.

This bill before us today, the Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act, or the USA Telecommunications Act, does just that.

The bipartisan legislation creates a grant program and authorizes $750 million in funding for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to help promote and deploy Open Radio Access Network technologies that can spur that type of competition. We must support alternatives to companies like Huawei and ZTE, Madam Speaker.

Today, most network equipment is produced by a handful of companies that provide a soup-to-nuts solution, locking our networks into one single vendor at a time. That makes it hard for new competitors to break into the market.

Currently, there are no American vendors for the network equipment that fuels our wireless economy. However, this legislation would authorize the funding of grants to support the promotion and deployment of Open Radio Access Network equipment.

By using standardized open interfaces, this type of equipment will allow network operators in the U.S. to piece together wireless networks that are both secure and make sense for them. And because of that, many American companies will be able to work directly with our network providers, hopefully spurring a domestic market for network equipment, and that is something we desperately need.

For all of these reasons, I want to thank Representatives Guthrie and Matsui and Ranking Member Walden for joining me in leading this bipartisan, bicameral bill. I also want to thank the Senate sponsors, led by Senator Warner of Virginia.

This legislation is critical for our strategic national interest, and I urge all Members to support it.

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I have no additional speakers. I also urge passage of the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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