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FCC outs telecoms with banned Chinese 5G hardware

The Federal Communications Commission has identified 51 U.S. mobile carriers that still have Huawei and ZTE 5G gear in their networks despite a government policy that bans that equipment from US service-provider networks.

Verizon, CenturyLink (which plans to rebrand as Lumen), and Cincinnati Bell are among the most prominent names on the list, and most of the others are small regional providers

The FCC said that the cost of replacing the China-built equipment at all of the companies on the list could top $1.8 billion.

More than $1.6 billion of that would be eligible for reimbursement from the commission’s Universal Service Fund under provisions of a 2019 law that bans the purchase of potentially suspect networking equipment. The fund is designed to defray the cost of providing communications services to low-income households and those in high-cost areas.

Under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, carriers must provide detailed plans for removing all banned equipment within a year of applying for reimbursement.

“By identifying the presence of insecure equipment and services in our networks, we can now work to ensure that these networks—especially those of small and rural carriers—rely on infrastructure from trusted vendors,” said FCC commissioner Ajit Pai in a statement.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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