Donald Trump

Trump signs bill to prevent U.S. rural telecom carriers from purchasing Huawei equipment

Legislation bars telecom carriers from using U.S. subsidies to purchase network equipment from Huawei , ZTE and others deemed a national security threat

US President Trump signed into law on Thursday a bill that provides $1 billion to help small telecom providers replace equipment made by China’s Huawei and ZTE.

The Secure and Trusted Communications Act was signed into law on Thursday and will bar the use of subsidies to buy equipment from other companies that have been deemed a national security threat. The law will also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a program to assist small providers with the costs of removing and replacing the now-prohibited equipment or services.

The legislation marked a major effort to eject Huawei from U.S. networks after the FCC declared it a national security threat in November.

The FCC has already voted to bar U.S. phone companies from using government subsidies for equipment from the two Chinese companies. This bill affects mostly small, rural companies, because the major U.S. network providers don’t use the Chinese equipment.

The White House said that using untrustworthy vendors to build communications infrastructure threatens national security by exposing networks to actors who are potentially influenced by foreign entities.

The legislation creates a reimbursement program that small telecom providers can use when removing and replacing equipment manufactured by entities deemed to pose unacceptable national security risks. The bill is aimed at telecom providers with fewer than 2 million customers.

The law also requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a program to assist small providers with the costs of removing prohibited equipment or services from their networks and replacing it.

“The administration will not risk subjecting America’s critical telecommunications infrastructure to companies that are controlled by authoritarian governments or foreign adversaries,” the White House said in a statement.

Donald Morrissey, a Huawei spokesman, said the bill was an “unrealistic attempt to fix what isn’t broken” and would hurt local consumers.

“This legislation remains considerably underfunded, will take longer than anticipated to fulfill and will put at risk some of Huawei’s customers, who operate in the most underserved areas,”

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