Advanced networks – the highways of cyberspace and artificial intelligence (AI) – remain a globally contested technology sector, according to experts at the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a bipartisan nonprofit organization.
Although the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to lead the United States in key metrics of fifth-generation (5G) mobile network production and deployment, the U.S. holds the edge in areas such as satellite connectivity and cloud computing.
The stakes of global leadership in network and telecommunications technology have never been higher, and SCSP’s experts outline how the U.S. compares to China on several network technology fronts.
Broadband and Fiber Optics Deployments and Production: Fiber optic cables and wireline technologies remain a core backbone of connectivity. Although the U.S. is laying more fiber optic cabling thanks to federal financing, China’s broadband mix includes a far larger share of fiber optic cabling and offers top-level broadband speeds.
Subsea Cables: U.S. firms remain competitive in this increasingly important battleground in the networking sector.
Mobile Networks and Spectrum: The quality of China’s 5G networks is marginally higher than those of the United States, but neither country has taken a clear lead in 5G applications in areas like autonomy.
Satellite Technology: The United States has long led in global space technology, and U.S. commercial satellite connectivity technology demonstrated clear national security value in Ukraine.
Looking ahead, SCSP’s experts offer advice to the U.S. government on how to reassert U.S. leadership in advanced network technology.
Think big: Set moonshot technology goals, such as increasing broadband for all households, and planning networks for smart communities and smart industries that integrate domains such as logistics, public safety, healthcare, and the military.
Strengthen the chain: Develop and build stronger network supply chains to upscale production of network components and identify reliable sources for other components as needed.
Unleash applications: Fund challenge grants for network applications with commercial potential, and also release more spectrum for private sector use.
Shape international networks: Don’t underestimate the ability of the U.S. to have an impact on global network technology by managing export opportunities and developing partnerships to compete with China in developing countries.
Visit scsp.ai for more information.