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U.S. to open program to replace Huawei equipment in U.S. networks

Huawei paid Washington lobbyist Podesta $1 million -sources
Huawei paid Washington lobbyist Podesta $1 million -sources   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p><span class="caps">WASHINGTON</span> – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (<span class="caps">FCC</span>) on Monday said it would open a $1.9 billion program to reimburse mostly rural U.S. telecom carriers for removing network equipment made by Chinese companies deemed national security threats like Huawei and <span class="caps">ZTE</span> Corp.</p> <p>The program, which was finalized in July, will open Oct. 29 for applications through Jan. 14, 2022.</p> <p>Last year, the <span class="caps">FCC</span> designated Huawei and <span class="caps">ZTE</span> as national security threats to communications networks – a declaration that barred U.S. firms from tapping an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies. The <span class="caps">FCC</span> in December adopted rules requiring carriers with <span class="caps">ZTE</span> or Huawei equipment to “rip and replace” that equipment.</p> <p>The issue is a big one for rural carriers that face high costs and difficulty finding workers to remove and replace equipment.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">FCC</span>’s final order expanded the companies eligible for reimbursement from those with 2 million or fewer customers to those with 10 million or fewer customers.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">FCC</span> in September 2020 estimated it would cost $1.837 billion to remove and replace Huawei and <span class="caps">ZTE</span> equipment from networks.</p> <p>In June, the <span class="caps">FCC</span> voted to advance a plan to ban approvals for equipment in U.S. telecommunications networks from Chinese companies deemed national security threats like Huawei and <span class="caps">ZTE</span>. The <span class="caps">FCC</span> could also revoke prior equipment authorizations issued to Chinese companies. In March, the <span class="caps">FCC</span> designated five Chinese companies as posing a threat to national security under a 2019 law aimed at protecting U.S. communications networks. </p> <p>The affected companies included the previously designated Huawei and <span class="caps">ZTE</span>, as well as Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co.</p> <p>In August 2020, the U.S. government barred federal agencies from buying goods or services from any of the five Chinese companies.</p> <p/> </div>