May 31, 2024

National Telecommunications and Information Administration Seeks Comments Regarding the Advancement of 6G Technology

3 min

On May 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a request for comments (RFC) seeking input on how federal government policies can support the development of sixth-generation (6G) wireless communications technology, the next generation of mobile networks. This presents an opportunity for parties to inform the future of 6G evolution and deployment in the United States and abroad.

5G technologies have helped bring Internet access and opportunity across the globe. 6G is expected to serve as a general-purpose technology that not only builds on 5G's advancements, but also expands communications access in both the public and private sectors through ubiquitous connectivity, integrated communication, and artificial intelligence. 6G-enabled applications thus have the potential to address domestic and international goals related to security, digital equity, and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, as well as overall wireless and telecommunications industry goals like productivity and quality of service.

Who Should Comment?

Individuals and organizations in the telecommunications sector are encouraged to contribute their expertise as it relates to 6G development and implementation. NTIA would like to hear from:

  • Wireless broadband internet service providers
  • Equipment or 6G-utilizing technology manufacturers and network vendors
  • Developers and end users of spectrum-based technologies and services
  • Individuals in academia and/or the public sector
  • General community members

Commentors have a unique opportunity to shape U.S. policy, ensuring that it addresses any potential challenges to 6G technology and that 6G use aligns with equity, sustainability, and privacy considerations and concerns.

Questions to Consider: 6G Success, Development, and Safety

The NTIA has explicitly proposed a range of questions that commentors may weigh in on regarding "Enabling 6G Success," "6G Beyond Research and Development," "6G Safety, Security, and Environmental Concerns," and the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee's 6G report. The questions include the following:

  • How can the U.S. government ensure that the benefits of 6G technology extend to all segments of society?
  • When is 6G technology expected to begin lab and field trials and then become commercially available? What developments in 6G technology could accelerate replacement of obsolete technologies?
  • How could 6G improve network resiliency during disaster and recovery operations, such as the response to hurricanes and other natural and man-made disasters that impact network performance?

The NTIA's list is not exhaustive. Commenters are encouraged to consider additional related questions or provide further information they believe is important to shaping the U.S. government's role in facilitating 6G's future. However, the NTIA is generally most interested in comments regarding proposed priorities, likely or potential use cases, and research and development.

Note that the NTIA is not soliciting comments regarding spectrum issues related to 6G. The NTIA previously requested comments for its new National Spectrum Strategy (NSS) in 2023 and is now coordinating with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other executive agencies to execute the 2024 NSS Implementation Plan.

How to Comment

Those interested in commenting have 90 days to submit their materials. The RFC period officially closes on August 21, 2024.

We will continue to monitor developments regarding the advancement of 6G technology. To learn more about Venable's Telecommunications services, or if you or your organizations have any questions about the potential impacts of 6G technology, please click here or contact the author.

* The author would like to thank Stephanie Sauer, Venable summer associate, for her assistance in preparing this alert.