‘A monumental danger’: Bill Barr warns against allowing China to dominate 5G

In recent years, China has taken steps to become a global leader in the realm of 5G technology. But according to Attorney General Bill Barr, that’s bad news for America.

“If China establishes sole dominance over 5G, it will be able to dominate the opportunities arising from a stunning range of emerging technologies that will be dependent on and interwoven with the 5G platform,” Barr warned in an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Thursday, according to The Washington Times.

The attorney general went on to say that China’s “dominance” in the field could pose threats to both national security and economic stability.

“The power the United States has today to use economic sanctions would pale by comparison to the unprecedented leverage we would be surrendering into the hands of China,” Barr said, according to a transcript from the CSIS.

“A quantum leap”

According to Barr, 5G wireless networks allow for the transmission of data at much faster rates than what are capable using 4G networks, which remain standard in most of the developed world.

“The move from 3G to 4G meant moving from download speeds of about one megabit per second to around 20 megabits per second, and this increase made it possible to move the storage of data and some modest processing power off the devices and onto the cloud,” Barr said. “The jump to 5G is a quantum leap beyond this. We are now talking about multi-gigabyte-per-second peak rates for both download and upload.”

But this technology not only speeds up phone and internet use. Experts say 5G networks will also facilitate new technological advances, including steps forward in 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), and even driverless cars, Barr noted Thursday.

“A monumental danger”

But the attorney general lamented that the U.S. isn’t leading the way with this new technology. China, for its part, made headlines in November when it unveiled a new national 5G cellular network, and now, the country’s communist government is working to establish 6G technology, according to Reuters.

“That is, in fact, a monumental danger,” Barr explained Thursday. “Within the next five years, 5G global territory and application dominance will be determined. The question is whether, within this window, the United States and our allies can mount sufficient competition to Huawei to retain and capture enough market share to sustain the kind of long-term and robust competitive position necessary to avoid surrendering dominance to China.”

Huawei is a Chinese telecom giant that is under the control of China’s government. In 2018, Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant. Wanzhou stands accused of bank fraud and concealing the company’s activities in Iran, according to CNBC.

According to Barr, this type of corruption will only become more prevalent if China takes the lead on 5G.

“The time is very short,” Barr warned. “We and our allies have to act quickly.”

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