Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the CTIA 5G Summit

May 17, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the CTIA 5G Summit
Wed, 05/17/2023 – 15:01



Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Hello everyone. I want to thank CTIA and Meredith Baker for inviting me to speak today. It was great to see Meredith at our recent celebration of NTIA’s 45th anniversary. It was a terrific opportunity to celebrate NTIA and its vital role and take stock of how far we’ve come in our pursuit of a wireless world.  


The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to maintaining the United States’ status as the world leader in advanced wireless technology – for commercial use and for critical government missions. 

That’s the driving force behind our development of a National Spectrum Strategy –finding ways to meet the immediate and long-term needs of both commercial and federal users. 

Americans’ demand for wireless-based services, which saw a steady rise in recent decades, spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, and next-generation Wi-Fi networks will soon require wideband channels of more than 100 megahertz each. 

What’s more, new satellite mega-constellations, 6G networks, connected automobiles, the Internet of Things, and private wireless networks for numerous industrial sectors will also soon need increased access to spectrum resources.   

At the same time, government missions, from weather observation to lunar missions to defending the Pacific, become more spectrum reliant each day.  

This much is clear: Necessity drives ingenuity. We must find new, innovative ways to harness this finite resource. Our continued leadership will require a pipeline of spectrum for commercial and federal users. 

Our goal is to identify at least 1,500 megahertz of spectrum to study for potential repurposing to meet future requirements for users across the board. This is perhaps our most ambitious study goal to date, and we’re confident that technological advances on the horizon will present new opportunities to make more efficient use of spectrum.  

We hope to develop a pipeline of spectrum bands for study and appropriate means for allowing greater use of some of those bands by the private sector. 

Our goal was to bring as many parties as possible to the table to develop holistic, far-reaching strategies to increase spectrum access. We requested comments from the public and received more than 130 responses. I want to thank CTIA, and many of the organizations represented here today for their thoughtful contributions. 

We also held two public listening sessions, a session with federal agencies, and two Tribal consultations. And there are still opportunities for individuals to find one-on-one time with NTIA experts provide additional insight and input. 


Still, much of this work cannot be completed without a robust legal framework in place. The law and longstanding U.S. policy heavily favor the FCC assigning licenses by auction. The lapse in the FCC’s auction authority threatens their ability to plan future auctions and further impedes our nation’s ability to deploy high-speed internet access and close the digital divide. 

The Biden-Harris Administration understands just how vital mid-band spectrum is for 5G and, in turn, economic growth and U.S. wireless leadership.  

But we have to strike a balance between bringing spectrum to market in a way that drives investment and innovation while still ensuring we do no harm to national security.   

We know that, and the Department of Defense knows it too. 

In March, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin memorialized an agreement on a path forward for spectrum with a joint letter supporting last year’s proposed Senate spectrum amendment.  

This move not only recognized the troubled state of our current laws and what those clear shortcomings mean for the future but highlighted our agencies’ shared commitment to meet the moment.  


American leadership and innovation in technology have been critical to our economic and national security for decades, and our success in leading in wireless telecommunications and working with global allies are key components of that. 

To continue to lead, American companies, entrepreneurs, and their international partners must remain at the cutting edge of these technologies. And the Wireless Innovation Fund, powered by the CHIPs and Science Act, is on the frontlines of that effort. 

The Wireless Innovation Fund was borne out of the need to increase the resiliency, diversity, and security of the wireless equipment ecosystem in order to maintain that leadership. 

It will allow us to invest in the next generation of wireless innovation, unlocking opportunities for new and emerging companies and bringing about the development and adoption of open, interoperable, and standards-based networks.  

It will also help us develop the global telecom market, strengthen our global supply chains, and give our allies trusted choices in spectrum access.   

It’s a long project, and to get there, we need your help. 

Our goal is to deliver the first grants from this initial $140.5 million tranche in August. Applications to receive portions of this funding are open through June 2. We expect to open up another round of funding next year. 

Expanding spectrum access is a wholesale effort that requires all of us in order to make impactful progress. Looking out on all of you and at the work already underway, I’m hopeful that we will realize the future of 5G and not only improve but empower the work of businesses, the missions of critical government services, and Americans’ lives. Thank you. 

Bureaus and Offices

National Telecommunications and Information Administration


Don Graves


Spectrum Management

Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More