FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the key to securing 5G networks is not to focus on weeding out suspect tech so much as on weeding out suspect tech suppliers.
Starks has proposed his own “Find it, Fix it, Fund it" approach to the issue.
Starks released a report Thursday (Nov. 21) on network security, gleaned from a network security workshop earlier this year with stakeholders, and said that was the big takeaway.
Clearly networks need to operate with trusted tech, he said, but added: "The question is not 'do I trust this piece of equipment?, but instead, 'do I trust the manufacturer?'"
He released the report on the eve of the FCC's vote on an order that will prohibit carriers from qualifying for billions in Universal Service Fund broadband subsidies if they are building out nets with tech from Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE, as well as from others if they are also designated suspect tech suppliers.
"I hope the expert views represented in today’s report will serve as a springboard to our national security efforts," said Starks. "With regard to the FCC, I hope the report helps to guide our efforts as we consider how to best achieve that goal—at our meeting later this week and in the work ahead. We need to meet these challenges head-on. Network security is national security."