The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an order making more operators eligible to claim compensation for replacing equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

At its regular monthly meeting, the FCC approved a change allowing operators with up to 10 million subscribers to seek reimbursement for replacing network equipment supplied by Huawei or ZTE, up from the original parameter involving companies with 2 million or fewer customers which receive government subsidies.

It aims to begin allowing operators to submit applications to access a $1.9 billion reimbursement pot from late October.

Starting today (14 July), the FCC will host a virtual open RAN showcase targeting operators set to replace Chinese equipment.

Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel stated the goal was to provide operators “an opportunity to hear directly from vendors whose interoperable, open interface, standards-based 5G network equipment and services will be ready and available for purchase and installation this year”.

Rosenworcel fielded questions from reporters about implementation of an order by US President Joe Biden regarding restoring net neutrality.

“I want to see open internet rules become the law of the land”, Rosenworcel explained, while acknowledging her ability to enact a rule change is limited by the make-up of the FCC, which is now comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats.

“We can discuss it”, she said. “With a full dais we may be able to have other options”.

Spectrum auctions
Rosenworcel said the FCC is “moving at a very fast clip when it comes to mid-band spectrum”. She said C-Band licences will soon be made available to winners of a recent auction.

Following an upcoming sale covering 3.45GHz to 3.55GHz, the FCC will turn its attention to an auction covering the 2.5GHz band, Rosenworcel said. This auction is expected to offer roughly 8,300 licences.

Rosenworcel said the agency had also started talks with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration about mid-band spectrum sharing in the 3.1GHz to 3.45GHz range.