911 services fall victim to FCC’s ‘rip and replace’ program
As the FCC’s “rip and replace” deliberations drag on, at least one small US wireless operator said the situation has affected its ability to provide critical 911 services in rural areas.
“3G services are being turned off due to inability to support the networks with [equipment] spares or with funding that is tied to a prohibition on universal service being used on Huawei or ZTE networks,” wrote the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) in a recent filing to the FCC. “This has eliminated 911 services in some rural areas where an RWA member is the only service provider.”
The RWA did not respond to a Light Reading request for additional information, including the identity of the provider.
Nonetheless, the situation yet again highlights the many difficulties surrounding the FCC’s efforts to rip Huawei and ZTE equipment out of existing US networks and to replace it with equipment from a “trusted” supplier. The agency has already issued rules preventing providers that participate in its Universal Service Fund (USF) from spending money with the Chinese suppliers. The agency is also working to flesh out the details – including obtaining the money for the project from Congress – to officially embark on its “rip and replace” program.
In the meantime, though, providers are “stuck between a rock and a hard place,” according to the RWA.
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