President Trump signed laws Thursday to ban telecom carriers from utilizing U.S. grants to purchase network gear from Huawei Technologies, ZTE and other firms deemed a national security risk.
The law requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ascertain a program to assist small providers with the prices of removing prohibited tools or services from their networks and changing it.
FCC Chairperson Ajit Pai called on Congress to “to appropriate the necessary funding to reimburse carriers for changing any network gear or services discovered to be a national security menace.”
Huawei has criticized the threat and contends that it poses a national security menace.
The Rural Wireless Association welcomed the measure that authorizes $1 billion; however, it doesn’t appropriate the funds. It marks “the first step in securing crucial funding to replace rural carriers’ Huawei and ZTE gear so that critical network infrastructure in rural locations continues to be available,” the association stated.
The White House stated the “reforms will help protect the nation’s crucial communications network and also ensures the U.S. reaches its 5G potential.”
Steven Barry, who leads the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), stated at a congressional hearing this month that rural carriers had been “essentially making an attempt to rebuild the airplane in mid-flight” by having to remove and replace network gear.