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FCC says it'll cost carriers $1.8 billion to replace Huawei, ZTE hardware

2020-09-04 18:37 by
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U.S. rural telecom networks, which have relied on inexpensive equipment from Huawei and ZTE to run their businesses, have told the government that it would cost US$1.837 billion to replace those switches and routers, the Federal Communications Commission said on Friday.

The FCC's new report also said that up to $1.6 billion of that cost could be eligible for federal reimbursement if Congress decides to appropriate the necessary funds. While President Trump and his team have raised national security concerns over the use of Chinese telecommunications equipment in U.S. networks, small service providers have said they would struggle to replace the routers and switches in a cost effective manner.

Many carriers that serve rural areas use relatively inexpensive ZTE and Huawei equipment. After the FCC started collecting data about that in February, more than 50 carriers have told the agency they or their subsidiaries have tech from those companies in their networks.

In June, the FCC officially classified Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, though since 2019, the agency has barred carriers from using its $8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment from the two Chinese tech giants.

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