• Chinese firms deemed national security threats by Washington
• Senators call for American Rescue Plan cash to be ringfenced
Two US senators want to prohibit funds from Washington’s $1.9 trillion funding boost from being used to purchase Chinese telecommunications equipment from Huawei, ZTE and other companies deemed US security threats.
Senators Tom Cotton, a Republican, and Mark Warner, a Democrat, said the funds that were approved in March in a law known as the American Rescue Plan should not be used to potentially undermine US telecommunications networks.
“With states across the country mapping out their plans for quality and affordable high-speed internet as a result of historic funding from the American Rescue Plan, we’ve got to make sure no community is sacrificing network security,” said Warner.
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“The US government must take strong action to cut the Chinese Communist Party out of our networks. Americans deserve both reliable and secure telecommunications technologies,” said Cotton.
Earlier this month, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to finalise a $1.9 billion programme to reimburse mostly rural US carriers for removing equipment from telecommunications networks from Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE.
‘RIP AND REPLACE’
Last year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats to communications networks – a declaration that barred US firms from tapping an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.
The FCC in December adopted rules requiring carriers with ZTE or Huawei equipment to “rip and replace” it, estimating in September 2020 that it would cost $1.837 billion to remove it from their networks.
- Reporting by Reuters
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