FCC Seeks Comment on Rules to Limit Network Equipment That Threatens National Security
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Comments

The FCC voted to seek comment on several proposals to modify its Secure and Trusted Network Reimbursement Program rules to help protect the safety and security of U.S. communications networks.

The proposals seek to modify these rules to align with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which appropriated $1.895 billion to remove, replace and dispose of communications equipment and services that pose a national security threat. The third notice of proposed rulemaking approved by the commission would help expedite removal of harmful equipment and services from the nation’s communications networks.

The commission seeks comment on a proposal to raise the cap on eligibility for participation in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to providers of advanced communications service with 10 million or fewer customers. The reimbursement program was created in December 2020 to provide funding to providers of advanced communications service for the removal, replacement and disposal of harmful equipment and services from their networks.

To ensure consistency with provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the commission seeks comment on rules regarding the acceptable uses of reimbursement program disbursements, eligibility of certain equipment and services, and modifications to the prioritization scheme in the event that requests for reimbursement exceed the $1.895 billion appropriation.

The further notice also seeks comment on modifying the scope of the equipment and services eligible under the Reimbursement Program to align with the July 30 orders designating Huawei Technologies and ZTE as national security threats. This would allow recipients to use reimbursement funding to remove or replace Huawei or ZTE equipment and services obtained on or before June 30.

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