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Quad and 5G rollout

  • IASbaba
  • December 6, 2022
  • 0
International Relations, Science and Technology
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In News: In 2022, Quad signed a New Memorandum of Cooperation on 5G Supplier Diversification and Open RAN, and reaffirmed their desire to “collaborate on the deployment of open and secure telecommunications technologies in the region.”

Context:

  • The advent of 5G provides the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue—or the Quad of the United States (US), Japan, Australia and India—a unique opportunity to demonstrate how democracies can engage in effective technology collaboration
  • Maintaining momentum requires close coordination of resources and policies.
  • No one country can build resilient, open, and secure telecommunications networks on its own, particularly as countries deploy 5G and think ahead to 6G.

What is Quad:

  • Known as the ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ (QSD)
  • The Quad is an informal strategic forum comprising four nations, namely — USA, India, Australia and Japan.
  • One of the primary objectives of the Quad is to work for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
  • The group met for the first time in 2007

Status of 5G rollout:

  • Recognising the risks that companies like Huawei, which is connected to the Chinese Communist Party, pose to telecommunications networks, each member country of the Quad has taken steps to ensure secure and resilient access to 5G.
  • India is deploying its first 5G services in select cities in October 2022 and is unlikely to include Huawei in its networks, given the Galwan Valley clash.
  • Australia banned Huawei from its 5G rollout in 2018
  • Japan has accelerated its efforts to create ‘Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN)’, which promote vendor diversification and competition for better solution

Significance:

  • To promote secure 5G rollout in the Indo-Pacific.
  • To serve as a model for other democracies in other parts of the globe
  • To “build trust, integrity, and resilience” into technology ecosystems by having suppliers, vendors, and distributors ensure strong safety and security-by-design processes
  • To ensure a fair and open marketplace.
  • Quad member countries must work together in four key areas:
  • standard-setting
  • security
  • talent development
  • vendor diversity

Standard Setting:

  • Global standards enable interoperability and facilitate trade.
  • Allow international standard-setting costs to qualify as expenditures under R&D tax credits.
  • Providing guidance on how to engage in standard-setting with sanctioned companies
  • Coordinate and harmonise their respective policies on how industry can participate in standard-setting alongside sanctioned entities.

Security:

  • 5G networks are critical infrastructure and vulnerable to risks posed by untrustworthy vendors on 5G networks.
  • Firstly, Virtualised (software-based) networks will be the norm in the next 10 years.
  • Secondly, early attention to security issues for emerging telecommunications technologies will help ensure that there is sufficient focus on security in the runup to 5G rollouts.
  • Focus on a unified zero-trust strategy for 5G networks, with special emphasis on Open RAN deployments.
  • Partner with the EU to develop an Open RAN risk assessment and security framework

Talent development:

  • Quad Fellowship will support 100 students per year to pursue STEM-related graduate degrees in the United States.
  • Australia has raised its permanent immigration cap by 35,000 for the current fiscal year.
  • As jobs disperse across the country and remote work accelerated by the pandemic becomes permanent, it is time to seize talent in overlooked areas and communities.
  • Recruitment in rural areas to address significant tech worker shortages that may stymie a growing start-up ecosystem.

Vendor Diversity:

  • With current 5G infrastructure, software, hardware, and antennae are all supplied by one company.
  • Only three companies control 80% of world’s supply of wireless network-based stations: Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson
  • Due to risks of national security and opportunity for diversification, Quad countries can embrace Open RAN in following ways:
  • Create a subject matter expert (SME) grant program
  • Skill development
  • Business growth
  • Coordinate vendor diversification efforts
  • Provide R&D incentives
  • Develop a recruitment framework for telecommunications
  • Incentivise 5G deployment in underserved areas
  • Enhance public-private partnerships.

Way forward:

  • By working together, Quad countries can leverage their individual strengths to improve standard-setting engagement processes, bolster security, and create more opportunities for talent development and vendor diversification.
  • Their alignment on Open RAN makes them key to operationalising discussions that other democratic nations are still hesitant to have.
  • Quad countries will provide a secure, resilient, and open 5G network model to the Indo-Pacific.

Source: Orfonline

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