A Senate bill that would provide government funding for smaller communications service providers to remove equipment in their networks supplied by Huawei, ZTE and other China-based suppliers would cost $726 million over ten years to implement, the Congressional Budget Office said on Feb. 11.

The legislation would create a Supply Chain Security Trust Fund that would be used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide funding for service providers to replace network gear from the China-based suppliers. U.S.-based communications service providers with less than six million customers would be eligible to use the funding to replace equipment purchased prior to August 2018.

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On the government front, the bill would require: 1) the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to report every two years on actions the Federal government should take to ensure secure 5G wireless network deployment in the U.S.; and 2) the Department of Homeland Security to establish a joint program to share national security risks and network vulnerabilities with U.S. communications service providers and their trusted suppliers.

The Senate bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee last year. Similar legislation was approved by the House in January

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.