US lawmakers to support $1.9 billion funding to 'rip and replace' Huawei, ZTE equipment
US lawmakers are expected to endorse $1.9 billion funding for a program to remove telecom network equipment deemed national security risks as part of a year-end spending bill.
Lawmakers are also expected to back $3.2 billion for an emergency broadband benefit for low-income Americans.
China’s Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp have been designated by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as threats, barring American firms from utilizing an $8.3 billion government fund to buy equipment from the companies.
The FCC has finalized rules requiring carriers to “rip and replace” Huawei or ZTE equipment but is awaiting funding from Congress.
The bill establishes a temporary, emergency broadband benefit program to help low-income Americans and those economically affected by the pandemic to get connected or remain connected to broadband.
A $50 monthly subsidy will be allocated to qualifying households to spend on broadband service and an internet-connected device.
The $7 billion COVID Relief Broadband Package, which prioritizes "rip-and-replace" reimbursement for telecommunications providers with 2 million subscribers or less, has been expanded to include providers with 10 million subscribers or less.
The program also includes $250 million for additional FCC support for telehealth and $1 billion for a tribal broadband connectivity grant program.