Fierce Wireless - August 2, 2022
The FCC program to reimburse U.S. service providers for removing and replacing existing Huawei and ZTE gear is facing a $3.7 billion funding shortfall, and absent additional Congressional support near-term, the program’s goal could be in jeopardy as carriers themselves are left in limbo.
Based on initial data for what it would take to swap out Huawei and ZTE gear from existing networks Congress in 2020 already allocated $1.89 billion for the FCC’s reimbursement program to carry out the Secure and Trusted Communications Act of 2019.
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE were deemed a national security risk by the FCC, and the goal of the effort is to get risky equipment out of U.S. networks, with the government repaying carriers for the costs of doing so. After initial review of 181 applications for reimbursement, which were due at the end of January, the FCC upped the estimated cost, which now stands at $5.6 billion.
Amounts requested vary from as little as $14,400 by Northern Cambria School District, to as high as $1.19 billion by Viaero Wireless. Fourteen applicants (excluding Viaero) are requesting amounts above $100 million, while 21 are seeking less than $1 million, with the rest spread out in between.