U.S., U.K. team to tackle 6G

6G graphic
Beyond 6G, the revamped charter will cover collaborations on supply chain resilience, AI and quantum technology. (berya113/Getty Images)

The U.S. and U.K. announced plans to develop a detailed science and technology partnership agreement, which is set to include a provision for strategic collaboration on the development of 6G technology.

Over the next year, the countries said they will define a statement of intent focused on advancing “proposals on future technology such as 6G” and strengthening cooperation on “digital technical standards.”

The partnership will be part of an updated Atlantic Charter deal signed by U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The original version of the document was signed in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill to outline a vision for the post-World War II world.

Beyond 6G, the revamped charter will cover collaborations to improve critical supply chain resilience; boost emerging fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technology; and enhance the accessibility and flow of data to support economic growth, public safety and scientific processes.

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U.K. Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement the revised charter “marks a new era of cooperation with our closest ally, in which we commit to using technology to create prosperity and guarantee the safety and security of our citizens for years to come.”

The announcement came just days after researchers in Finland and Japan struck a deal to collaborate on 6G. Working together, the University of Oulu’s 6G Flagship program and the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium said they hope to “contribute significantly to the global standardization and regulatory development of 6G technology.”

In April, the U.S. and Japan inked a deal to invest in the “research, development, testing and deployment of secure networks and advanced ICT including 5G and next-generation mobile networks,” committing a combined $4.5 billion to the effort. Later that month, the U.S. National Science Foundation tapped nine tech and telecom giants to pitch in to a new public-private partnership program designed to lay the technological foundation for 6G.

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And in June the U.S. said it would pursue joint research and development of “critical and emerging technologies” – including 6G – with South Korea. Interestingly, the countries said they would specifically aim to develop “open, transparent, and efficient 5G and 6G network architectures using Open-RAN technology.”