President Trump Signs Huawei/ZTE Replacement Funding Legislation; FCC Pushes for Necessary $1 Billion Appropriations Bill

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President Donald Trump has signed into law the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (HR.4998).  The legislation authorizes the FCC to spend up to $1 billion in reimbursement funding to help small telecommunications carriers, mostly in rural markets, to replace existing Huawei and ZTE equipment (and associated services) with new equipment that does not pose a risk to the country’s national security.  In November 2019, the Commission adopted a preliminary determination that Huawei and ZTE were threats to the communications supply chain.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai applauded the passage of HR.4998 and urged Congress to “move forward quickly to appropriate the necessary funding to reimburse carriers.”  The Chairman also noted that the Commission is still “considering whether to finalize [the] preliminary designations” assigned to Huawei and ZTE while it collects data about the scope and cost of replacing all Huawei and ZTE equipment in the U.S.

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