You might recall that about a year ago, the FCC voted to spend $1.9 billion to “rip and replace” networking gear belonging to Huawei and ZTE out of networks belonging to rural carriers in the U.S. Both Chinese phone makers and network equipment suppliers are considered national security threats and with rural carriers looking to build out some 5G coverage, now would be the time to make sure that there aren’t any more remnants of the pair’s networking gear still being used in the states.
The FCC needs over $3 billion to help rural wireless firms rip and replace Huawei and ZTE gear
Huawei supplied base stations to rural carriers in the U.S.
U.S. says Huawei and ZTE are both too close to the communist Chinese government
In 2019, a law was put into place by Congress forcing telecom carriers who receive federal subsidies to purge their networks of equipment delivered by firms that are considered threats to U.S. security.
In her letter to Senator Cantwell, FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel wrote, “Absent an additional appropriation, the Commission will apply the prioritization scheme Congress specified.” The chairwoman said that the Commission would begin processing reimbursement claims “as allocations are issued in the coming days.”
In November 2019, the FCC banned the Universal Services Fund (USF) from spending any of its money on Huawei and ZTE equipment. The USF spends as much as $8.5 billion a year on rural telecom gear. The goal is to make sure that everyone in the U.S. has the ability to make and receive phone calls. The funds are also used to make sure that Americans living in rural areas can access the internet.