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Author Topic: FCC bans purchase of Huawei  (Read 7294 times)

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FCC bans purchase of Huawei
« on: November 25, 2019, 12:03:49 PM »
Managed by the FCC, the Universal Service Fund (USF) collects fees charged to telecom companies quarterly and disburses $8.5 billion a year. Of course, most of these companies pass the charge along to consumers to pay each month. So what is this money used for, you ask? It is disbursed to help everyone in the U.S. gain access to telecommunication services. Among the beneficiaries of the fund are Americans living in rural areas that would otherwise be unable to access the internet. On Friday, the FCC voted (via ArsTechnica) to ban the USF from purchasing equipment made by Huawei and ZTE from certain projects paid for by the fund.

The ban deals with networks that have yet to be built, but the regulatory agency is currently in the process of receiving public comments on a proposal that would force carriers to remove any Huawei or ZTE networking equipment found in networks already built. But as pointed out by FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks (one of two Democrats sitting on the five-member panel), wireless operators in rural areas already are using Huawei and ZTE networking gear for their 3G and 4G networks and will need help from the government to replace it. The commissioner says, "These carriers are made up of hard-working men and women that serve hard-to-reach communities that the major carriers can't or won't serve, operating with small teams and tight budgets."

Yesterday's action by the FCC will also prevent small, rural carriers from using USF funds to service the existing Huawei and ZTE equipment already in place. While the agency tries to figure out what will be allowed in this situation, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that these wireless operators are being asked to submit information to the commission that details all of the Huawei and ZTE equipment currently in use, and provide estimates of how much it would cost to remove and replace such gear. The FCC itself has already figured out that it will cost $1.89 billion to do this work, which would take two years to complete.


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