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FCC Implements Directive to Replace ‘Risky’ Telecom Equipment

1 min read
Telecommunications Infrastructure

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formally implemented rules under the 2019 Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act aimed at reimbursing telecommunication providers’ equipment that pose risks to national security.

FCC said Thursday the reimbursement program might require a least $1.6B in funding to replace risky communications equipment purchased after Aug. 14, 2018.

The order directs FCC to provide a list of banned telecom services and equipment as identified by Congress, the executive branch’s interagency bodies, the Department of Commerce and other national security agencies.

The removal and replacement program will focus on smaller providers and mandates “strict reporting requirements” to ensure timely information on insecure U.S. telecom network technologies, according to the FCC document.

FCC requires eligible telecom carriers that service remote areas to use Universal Service Funding allocations for the removal and disposal of blacklisted equipment.

In November, Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to lead the delivery of agency support to small and rural service providers in line with the telecom security legislation.

Chinese telecom firms ZTE and Huawei were officially designated as blacklisted companies in June. ZTE, which petitioned to be removed from the list, remains a banned provider.