© Macom General | May 23, 2019
Congress moves to help rural wireless carriers in face of Huawei ban
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation this week to provide about USD 700 million in grants to help rural U.S. telecom providers with the cost of removing Huawei equipment from their networks.
According to a Reuters report, the bill also moves to block the use of equipment or services from Chinese telecoms firms Huawei and ZTE in next-generation 5G networks, according to a statement by the senators. The Trump Administration has accused ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd of working for the Chinese government and has expressed concern their equipment could be used to spy on Americans, allegations the Chinese government and the companies say are baseless. “With so much at stake, our communications infrastructure must be protected from threats posed by foreign governments and companies like Huawei,” Tom Cotton (R-AR), a Republican senator co-sponsoring the bill, said in a statement. While large U.S. wireless companies have severed ties with Huawei, small rural carriers have leaned on Huawei and ZTE switches and equipment because they are often less expensive, the Reuters report said. The Rural Wireless Association, which represents carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, estimates that 25% of its members have Huawei and ZTE in their networks, and have said it would cost between USD 800 million and USD 1 billion to replace it.