House of Commons Science and Technology Committee publishes its report on 5G market diversificationGulistan Ladha
The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee’s Second Report 5G market diversification and wider lessons for critical and emerging technologies highlights the dependency of the UK’s 5G rollout on just two vendors, posing risks to network resilience and security.
Drawing on evidence taken throughout the course of the inquiry, the report warns against repeating mistakes as new and important technologies evolve. MPs have called on the government to publish a white paper within 12 months with an action plan. The paper should assess the risks of global technological divergence of standards, identify critical emerging technologies, risks of dependency on high-risk vendors, and set out the government’s proposed response. The report sets out a series of recommendations for the current telecommunications rollout, recently addressed in the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy.
The Committee recommends that there should be:
- A programme of research and development actively managed by the Government: the Government must drive the effort with industry and academia to meet its long-term objectives rather than take a passive approach;
- A range of measures to diversify the market: OpenRAN is one route to diversification, but as its success is uncertain, it should not be regarded as a ‘silver bullet’ for 5G supplier diversification; and
- International co-operation: the UK accounts for a small proportion of the global telecommunications market, so international co-ordination will be critical. The Committee recommends that the Government establish a standing forum for international co-operation on diversifying the telecommunications market.