Rural carriers ‘stunned’ by U.S. ban on Huawei, ZTE
The FCC has banned purchases of Huawei and ZTE equipment and many of the US rural wireless network operators affected by the move are incensed.
“As a result, rural carriers who have deployed Huawei or ZTE equipment or services in their networks will now lack the ability to support their critical networks that are serving hundreds of thousands of rural Americans and those traveling through rural America,” wrote the Rural Wireless Association in a release Tuesday, just hours after the FCC announced its ban. The RWA represents operators like Viaero and James Valley Telecommunications that use Huawei equipment in their wireless networks.
RWA said it was “stunned” by the FCC’s decision. The association argued that its members are dealing with the FCC’s Keep America Connected pledge – which calls on Internet service providers to maintain services to Americans affected by the pandemic – as well as the ramifications of the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. These carriers will have difficulty with the FCC’s latest action, the RWA said.
Politicians and CEOs closer to Washington, DC, cheered the move.
“This is a great development and a critical step forward in protecting America’s national and economic security,” said Mike Rogers, chairman of 5G Action Now policy group and a former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he authored a milestone report outlining the threats reportedly posed by Huawei and ZTE. “I applaud the FCC.”
And Steve Papa, chief executive of wireless infrastructure provider Parallel Wireless, said the FCC’s move was “an important first step in the right direction,” but he reiterated his call for US government funding for advanced semiconductor technologies.
At issue is the FCC’s long-running proceeding centering on the alleged security threats posed by Chinese vendors like Huawei and ZTE. The agency has been debating a proposal for months that would prevent US telecom companies that receive money from its Universal Service Fund from using that cash to purchase equipment from the Chinese vendors. The agency implemented that ban on Tuesday.
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