The U.S. Department of Defense has partnered with the Department of Commerce to launch the “2023 5G Challenge: Advanced Interoperability” competition, offering up to $7 million in cash and prizes for participants who can speed up adoption of secure networks and compatible parts. Fifth-generation wireless technology promises faster speeds and greater capabilities than ever before—but as its implementation continues to be hindered by security concerns and limited access to resources, government intervention could be key to helping move things along.
As consumers remain hesitant due to digital intrusions, expensive infrastructure, and slow uptake, the Pentagon has allocated approximately $338 million for 5G development in fiscal 2022 and requested an additional $250 million for fiscal 2023 in order to foster the technology’s development. Already, companies like Northrop Grumman and AT&T have successfully relayed intelligence data via 5G technologies while Lockheed Martin and Verizon have securely shared intel captured by a swarm of drones using private/public fifth-gen networks; Viasat is also experimenting with connecting Marines through advanced base operations utilizing 5G tech.
With this challenge from the Department of Defense, solutions created by participants could open up new doors for future on-the-ground progress in America’s transition towards a fully functional fifth-gen network; however, given the complexities of implementation across industries prior to reaching full public adoption—such as Pentagon-level cybersecurity protocols—these breakthroughs may take some time yet.
The competition provides an opportunity for organizations large and small alike to contribute their expertise towards resolving persistent bottleneck issues that are hampering adoption rates; sharing insights on reliable bandwidth utilization between multiple systems will provide substantial benefits not only at home but beyond our borders as well. With prize money available throughout all bracket levels of entry—including a grand prize of $1 million dollars—the possibilities are endless if even a fraction of potential applications are discovered from within range.
The race towards widespread use is underway as unmanned aerial vehicles begin incorporating 5G into search & rescue operations nationwide; ultimately, however, only time will tell whether or not this challenge reaps the abundant rewards necessary for society to reap its full benefit in return.