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$1.89bn Package To Replace Telecom Equipment From China's Huawei, ZTE Backed By US Lawmakers


12/21/2020


$1.89bn Package To Replace Telecom Equipment From China's Huawei, ZTE Backed By US Lawmakers
A program to remove telecom network equipment that the United States government claims is a threat to its national security worth $1.9 billion will be supported by US lawmakers. That program will be a part of the $900 billion Covid-19 relief package, said reports quoting sources with information about the matter. 
 
Senior congressional aides also confirmed that $3.2 billion will also be supported by US lawmakers meant for an emergency broadband benefit for low-income Americans, the reports claimed.
 
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that $7 billion to increase access to broadband will be invested as a part of the Covid-19 relief bill. The lawmakers added that this low-income program will "help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic."
 
China’s Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp had been formally designated in June as threats of US national security by the Federal Communications Commission. That declaration meant that American companies will not be able to get access to an $8.3 billion government fund for purchasing telecom equipment from these designated companies.
 
Rules that mandate that carriers with ZTE or Huawei equipment will have to "rip and replace" that equipment were finalised by the FCC earlier this month. That finding needs to be approved by Congress.
It was disappointed in the FCC’s decision "to force removal of our products from telecommunications networks. This overreach puts U.S. citizens at risk in the largely underserved rural areas – during a pandemic - when reliable communication is essential", Huawei said earlier this month.
 
According to reports quoting the fact sheet of the new bill, it "establishes a temporary, emergency broadband benefit program at the FCC to help low-income Americans, including those economically challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, get connected or remain connected to broadband".
 
A $50 monthly subsidy will be supplied by the program to qualifying households "to help them afford broadband service and an internet-connected device", said reports.
 
In addition to establishing an Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the bill will also include $285 million for connecting minority communities.
 
It will also offer funding to "support minority-serving education institutions, including when they partner with minority-owned businesses, to expand broadband capacity and use at the school and in the surrounding community," according to the fact sheet as reported by the media.  It also includes about $250 million for additional FCC support for telehealth and $1 billion for a NTIA tribal broadband connectivity grant program.
 
(Source:www.usnews.com)


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