On Sunday U.S. lawmakers backed funds needed to have Huawei telecom equipment removed from U.S. carriers’ networks. Reuters reported today that U.S. lawmakers will back the $1.9 billion dollars needed to make this happen. The funds are a part of the new $900 billion-dollar COVID-19 relief bill according to two sources briefed on the matter.
The move to have Huawei telecom equipment removed completely from the United States has been thundering ahead in recent months. Huawei equipment used by telecom companies poses a national security risk according to the U.S. government.
One problem that seemed major was having companies remove Huawei telecom equipment. The companies that purchased the equipment themselves feared this would hurt their bottom lines. This was especially the case for smaller telecom companies.
Along with the $1.9 billion dollars needed to remove Huawei equipment, lawmakers also backed a $3.2-billion-dollar fund. This emergency broadband benefit will be for low-income Americans and senior congressional aides as reported by Reuters.
Huawei telecom equipment removed and keeping citizens connected
The COVID-19 relief bill will also invest $7 billion dollars to increase access to broadband. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer clarified this in a statement. The statement reads adding the low-income program will “help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.” This is great news for the millions of U.S. citizens who are relying on the internet during this pandemic. From students in remote classes to those working remotely, this will benefit many.
The U.S. government earlier this year declared both Huawei and ZTE as threats to the U.S. government. As a result, the U.S. government finalized rules earlier this month that requires carriers to part with the equipment they purchased from Huawei and ZTE.
Huawei earlier this month mentioned that being removed from the country put U.S. citizens in danger who are in rural areas and need to stay connected. As a result, the emergency broadband benefit fund was introduced to keep those citizens connected.
The program allows for various ways to do this. Including a $50 dollar a month subsidy to qualifying households. $285 million dollars for connecting minority communities, and will establish an Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives. Funding for funding minority-serving educational institutions. Another $250 million for additional telehealth support from the FCC. An NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) $1 billion dollars will create a tribal broadband connectivity grant program as well.
In addition to these, there will be a separate $300 million NTIA program to promote broadband expansion to underserved Americans. Throw in $65 million for better broadband camps, and it looks like the lawmakers will keep millions of citizens well connected. These programs and funding are great answers to Huawei saying U.S. citizens will be put in danger.