congress approves $1b for rural telecom companies to ditch huawei

Posted by lipsius at 2020-03-12

President Donald Trump's administration has prioritized ousting Huawei from US telecom networks. | Mark Schiefelbein, File/AP Photo The Senate unanimously voted Thursday to pay rural telecom carriers $1 billion to rip and replace any gear in their networks from Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE. The Senate action sends the legislation to President Donald Trump for his signature. Top administration figures have indicated general support for the funding, which would mark yet another victory in the president's efforts to exclude Huawei from telecom networks in the U.S. The administration has alleged that Huawei is an arm of China’s communist government — something it denies — and would pose a national security threat if allowed to help build the 5G networks of the U.S. or its global allies. The new legislation is aimed at ensuring Huwaei's gear also vanishes from existing, slower networks. As POLITICO reported earlier this month, Lee dropped his objections, paving the way for today’s sign-off. Dozens of small U.S. carriers have Huawei and ZTE equipment embedded in their networks. Many bought the equipment years ago, largely due to the gear's low cost. Huawei has warned that the legislation would probably spell layoffs among its U.S. operations.