New York: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is urging the government of US President Joe Biden to crank up its 5G game, warning that “China is about 10 times ahead of us” and that the “dire situation” is already an “emergency”.
“I estimate that China is about 10 times ahead of us in the 5G space. This is a national emergency. The United States needs to get the necessary bandwidth and funding to the telcos to get that built out, we may have already lost that one, that’s how dire the situation is,” Schmidt told CNN on Sunday.
Schmidt’s remarks segue into the raging debate over China’s Huawei, the world’s leading peddler of 5G technology which came in for peak skewering during the former Donald Trump presidency.
The Trump administration spearheaded the campaign against Chinese 5G vendors Huawei and ZTE, unleashing a steady string of escalations against these companies before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in early 2020.
The US has described Huawei as Beijing’s backdoor access to foreign markets and an “unacceptable” risk to national security, critical infrastructure, privacy, and human rights.
“If these technologies are built in China, for example, they are not necessarily going to follow our privacy rules or our ethics… We have to be careful to win this battle,” Schmidt said, pointing to the Chinese government’s plan to lead the global market for AI by 2030.
Schmidt’s remarks come at a time when Huawei sealed its latest deal, in India.
The Economic Times, quoting “multiple people aware of the development”, reported that Bharti Airtel handed Huawei an infrastructure expansion contract worth “around Rs 300 crore”.
For months, US cybersecurity officials have been warning that allowing “high-risk” vendors such as Huawei and ZTE into any part of 5G networks (edge or core) makes critical systems “vulnerable to disruption, manipulation, and espionage while putting sensitive government, commercial, and personal information at risk”.