This week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) published plain-language guidance to help government agencies buy fifth generation (5G) wireless technology, an innovation that supports higher data-transfer rates, more energy savings, higher capacity, better device connectivity, and other benefits.
GSA’s Acquisition Guidance for Procuring 5G Technology supports an ongoing, multi-agency effort to document and share best practices for optimal 5G deployments.
Mobile technology is a global economic driver, and each generation brings faster speeds and added support for new services. The first generation (1G) enabled cell phones, the second (2G) introduced texting, the third (3G) began the era of the smartphone, and 4G long-term-evolution (LTE) delivered streaming video and fast mobile internet access.
“5G networks have the potential to be faster, more reliable, and serve many more devices — and could provide infrastructure to help with everything from smart buildings to telemedicine,” said Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Sonny Hashmi. “We’re pleased to be issuing this guidance to ensure that government can make the most of secure 5G in its efforts to deliver for the American people.”
Congress passed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020 which required the federal government to develop a four-pronged strategy to ensure the security of next generation mobile telecommunications systems and infrastructure. The resulting National Strategy to Secure 5G details how the U.S. will lead global development, deployment, and management of secure and reliable 5G infrastructure.
Part of that strategy takes aim at reducing supply chain risks to U.S. economic and national security during the development and deployment of 5G infrastructure worldwide. To support this effort, GSA was charged with “establishing acquisition processes to facilitate 5G infrastructure for classified information requirements.”
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that this guidance collects best practices from across the government,” said Laura Stanton, GSA’s Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category. “We have confidence that it will go a long way toward helping federal IT managers, contracting offices, and their industry partners work together to build secure 5G systems.”
The guidance released today focuses on achieving that goal by orienting agencies and their vendors to Best-In-Class acquisition vehicles that feature secure 5G services within their scope.
Subject matter experts from ITC’s Wireless Mobility Solutions program drafted the guidance and incorporated feedback from other agencies involved in the National Strategy. Read more about how the guidance factors into GSA’s procurement strategy on our Greater Government Through Technology blog.
Access the guidance as a white paper, a PDF, or order physical copies through GSA’s Centralized Mailing List Service. As a living document, the guidance will be regularly reviewed to keep pace with changing technology, ensure governmentwide cybersecurity requirements are accurate, and incorporate feedback from stakeholders. Please direct questions to [email protected].