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US Congress Looks for Telcos to  ‘Rip and Replace' Huawei Gear

March 2, 2020

The Senate passed H.R. 4998, the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker introduced the Senate version of this bipartisan, bicameral legislation, which is intended to protect American communications networks from threats presented by foreign suppliers, such as Huawei and ZTE.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. said, “Telecommunications equipment from certain foreign adversaries poses a significant threat to our national security, economic prosperity, and the future of U.S. leadership in advanced wireless technology,” Wicker said. “By establishing a ‘rip and replace’ program, this legislation will provide meaningful safeguards for our communications networks and more secure connections for Americans. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to help move this bill to the President’s desk.”

The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 will:

  • Prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from subsidizing the acquisition or maintenance of telecommunications equipment or services from untrusted suppliers.
  • Create a program to reimburse telecommunications providers with fewer than two million customers. These providers will remove equipment that poses a national security risk from their networks to replace it with equipment from trusted suppliers.
  • Establish an information sharing program for telecommunications providers, particularly small and rural operators,to obtain information regarding potential security risks and vulnerabilities to their networks.

Click here to read the bill.

The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 is companion legislation to the United States 5G Leadership Act of 2019, S. 1625, introduced by Chairman Wicker along with Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Mark Warner, D-Va., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. The bill was reported out of the Commerce Committee in July 2019. 

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