Last week the FCC start a reimbursement program to replace equipment from Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE (via Bloomberg).
The U.S. government has deemed these companies to be a threat to national security, and the program will subsidize the removal of Chinese equipment. The intended program recipients are “small and usually rural carriers with no more than 10 million customers.”
Telecoms must apply for the program by mid-January 2022, and are required by law to have the equipment physically destroyed. John Nettles, president of Alabama-based Pine Belt Communications Inc, said his company likely couldn’t afford to replace the equipment without the subsidy. He estimates it would cost US$25 million. It could take a four-person crew a week to refit each of Pine Belt’s 67 cellular towers.