Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology reintroduced the Future Uses of Technology Upholding Reliable and Enhanced (FUTURE) Networks Act on March 9.

Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, offered legislation that directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring together industry leaders, public interest groups, and government experts to establish a 6G task force.

“For the United States to stay ahead of the rest of the world in wireless communications technology, we need to look ahead and convene our best and brightest innovators to map the road ahead,” Rep. Matsui said in a statement.

“The economic and national security stakes in the global race to 6G couldn’t be higher,” she continued, adding, “That’s why we must take steps now to prepare as this technology evolves. The FUTURE Networks Act lays an important foundation for us to build on for the future deployment of next-generation 6G networks.”

Specifically, the FUTURE Networks Act would require the FCC to establish a 6G Task Force comprised of industry, government, and public interest representatives to issue a report on:

  • The role of standards-setting bodies in 6G;
  • Possible use cases for 6G technology;
  • Potential threats such as supply chain or cybersecurity; and
  • Interagency coordination and promoting deployment.

“We must continue to strengthen our telecommunications networks to better protect Americans from cyberattacks, improve wireless security, and address privacy concerns. The FUTURE Networks Act will promote innovation within the telecommunications sector by establishing a 6G task force,” Rep. Johnson said.

“If enacted, the 6G task force will consist of trusted stakeholders within the communications industry, academic intuitions, public interest organizations, and federal, state, and local government officials,” he said.

The bipartisan legislation was previously introduced in the 117th Congress by Rep. Michael Doyle, D-Pa. It passed the House but stalled in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Rep. Matsui has been a champion of promoting innovation and equity in technology.

She co-authored the Spectrum Innovation Act, which would extend fixes to the process for making the lower gigahertz band available for auction and fund important initiatives, including the FCC’s rip and replace the program.

She is also co-author of the bipartisan Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which passed in 2020. The legislation reaffirmed a bipartisan commitment to protect America’s communications networks’ supply chain and worked to prohibit Huawei, ZTE, and other equipment from threatening America’s telecommunications networks.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.