Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. departments of Defense and Commerce will jointly seek public input on development of 5G communication networks, they announced on Monday.
5G, or fifth generation telecommunications standard for broadband cellular networks, offers higher download speeds and has been of particular interest to the U.S. military prior to its civilian rollout in 2019.
The Defense Department regards 5G as a key modernization priority, and actively seeks advancement of capabilities to fully leverage 5G technologies for military networking needs.
It has developed the capability operating through secure and non-secure 5G networks, and has invested in "beyond 5G" technologies, officials have said.
"The Department of Defense recognizes that 5G technologies are foundational to strengthening our nation's warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness," Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, said Monday in a press release.
"Open 5G systems would greatly bolster the Department's ability to deliver on its missions, and we look forward to exploring new and innovative opportunities for their development," Kratsios said.
In October 2020, the Defense Department announced the award of $600 million in contracts to several commercial companies for a pilot test of 5G communications technology at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Naval Base San Diego, Calif.; Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Ga.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
It announced an initial request for proposals in November to equip four of those bases with large-scale 5G mobile broadband technology.
The bases were chosen for their ability to provide streamlined access to site spectrum bands, mature fiber and wireless infrastructure, access to key facilities, support for new or improved infrastructure requirements, and the ability to conduct controlled experimentation with dynamic spectrum sharing, the Pentagon said at the time.
The announcement on Monday calls for public input to "inform an upcoming challenge," by the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The end goal is to "leverage the innovative capabilities of the software development and telecommunications technology communities to enable more open implementations of 5G systems," department officials said.
Comments can be submitted by Feb. 21.