Legislation has been reintroduced in the U.S. Congress to increase funding for 5G telecommunications and digital infrastructure development in Eastern European countries.It was important to fund such projects in countries with “infrastructure deficits” remaining from the Soviet era that make them “especially vulnerable to malign Chinese influence.”
The Transatlantic Telecommunications Security Act would authorize the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to provide financing for 5G network development to U.S. allies and partners in the region.
The bill aims to ensure that the United States “is leading with European allies to develop international 5G standards that favor democratic institutions, not further authoritarianism spread by China.The United States and European allies are facing increasing threats from state-linked companies in China as they seek to infiltrate and undermine democratic institutions.
The new 5G networks will serve as the backbone of transatlantic telecommunications infrastructure for years to come, fostering greater development of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence.With those advances come immense national security and economic implications and it is critical so these networks be kept safe from malign foreign influence.
The growing threat from China “has made it increasingly important to shore up our shared communications.”U.S. assistance to Central and Eastern European countries in building out their 5G networks “can further help defend the freedom of speech, press, and religion across the continent.
The decision came shortly after an announcement in October that the U.S. State Department had signed deals with Slovakia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bulgaria on high-speed wireless network technology.
Some countries in Central and Southeastern Europe have already banned Chinese tech giant Huawei as part of a rollback of China’s dominance in 5G telecommunications. Romania last year implemented such a ban.The U.S. government has accused the Chinese company of using its technology to spy on behalf of the Chinese government. Huawei denies the allegations and argues that U.S. protectionism is motivating its decisions.