A US government committee set out proposed legislation which would provide $1 billion in funding for operators to replace network equipment manufactured by Huawei and other companies deemed a security risk.
The cash will be available to niche and rural operators in the country, many of which use equipment supplied by companies considered by US authorities to be a threat within their infrastructure.
In a statement, leaders of The House of Representatives’ Communications and Technology Subcommittee said the proposal would help “small and rural wireless providers root-out suspect network equipment and replace it with more secure equipment”.
Echoing many other statements made by US authorities on the telecommunications supply chain, the group argued the move was necessary for national security reasons as “companies such as Huawei and its affiliates can pose a significant threat to America’s commercial and security interests”.
If the bill becomes law the funding will be managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with operators required to apply to the regulator for a share.
The Secure and Trusted Communications Network bill was presented by leaders of the committee and will now go through all its members before being passed through the US’ other legislative bodies.
In addition to instructing the FCC to set up the $1 billion pot and open the application process, the bill formally prohibits the use of government funding to purchase equipment or services from companies considered a risk.
The announcement comes a week after FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks called on authorities to step-in and ensure rural operators do not take the financial burden of stripping-out equipment from their networks.
Huawei has repeatedly denied its equipment is a security threat.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back