US carriers ask FCC for $5.6 billion to replace Huawei and ZTE equipment

Deepak Gupta February 6, 2022
Updated 2022/02/06 at 10:58 PM

The price of removing Chinese equipment from US wireless networks is likely to cost more than the government had anticipated. According to Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, U.S. carriers have requested approximately $5.6 billion in refunds for “” its existing infrastructure from Huawei and ZTE.

, the FCC unanimously voted to ban US carriers from using the Universal Service Fund to subsidize the cost of purchasing network equipment from companies deemed a “threat to national security”. The first two companies the agency added to this list were Huawei and ZTE. In 2020, former President Donald Trump signed the , forcing operators to replace equipment from both manufacturers.

That same year, the FCC reimbursed smaller telecom operators for replacing equipment that the law deemed a national security risk. At the time, the agency estimated that it would cost carriers more than fulfilling the order, and later rescinded it. to cover refunds.

“While we have more work to do to review these applications, I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that there is enough funding available for this program to advance Congress’ security goals and ensure that the United States continues to lead the way in 5G security. . said Rosenworcel.

US carriers submitted 181 requests to the FCC for funding support before the filing window closed on January 28, 2022. At the moment, the agency only has enough money to grant about a third of all requests received.

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