WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a bipartisan bill authored by U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to counter Chinese telecommunications manufacturers passed the Senate. It was included as an amendment to the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, previously titled the Endless Frontier Act, which passed on a vote of 68-32. The Hickenlooper-Wicker bill, the Telecommunications Supply Chain Diversity Promotion Act, funds a $20 million research program at the Institute of Telecommunication Sciences in Boulder, Colorado.
The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 now goes to the House. Representative Doris Matsui has introduced a House companion bill to the Hickenlooper-Wicker measure.
“Chinese competition in the telecommunications equipment market threatens our leadership in the race for 5G,” said Hickenlooper. “We must boost the domestic, American-made market for resilient, safe and secure equipment to ensure U.S. workers remain competitive globally.”
Full text of the bill is available HERE.
Hickenlooper is the chair of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Space and Science. Wicker is the ranking member of the Commerce Committee.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Task the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with developing a testbed at the Institute for Telecommunication Science in Boulder, Colorado for demonstrating the potential network architecture and applications for Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN), including specific consideration of rural network deployment;
- Require NTIA to work with industry, FirstNet, and other federal agencies to examine potential uses for Open RAN technology;
- Authorize $20 million for NTIA to stand up the testbed program, and require NTIA to report to Congress with recommendations for further legislative actions to promote the adoption and deployment of Open RAN;
- Create a $30 million grant program for the Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission, to provide US companies with financial assistance for participation in eligible standard-setting bodies for the formation of standards for Open RAN.