The Rural Wireless Association (RWA) blasted a decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bar the use of government funds to purchase kit from Huawei and ZTE, arguing it leaves small providers in the lurch at a time when connectivity is critical.
Regulator the FCC yesterday (30 June) affirmed a previous assessment Huawei and ZTE were security threats, following a review by its Public Safety Bureau. As a result, operators were immediately banned from using government subsidies to “purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify or otherwise support” equipment provided by either vendor.
RWA stated it was “stunned” by the FCC’s decision to cut off funding so quickly, claiming it put small operators using Huawei and ZTE kit in a “precarious situation” of being unable to support “critical networks that are serving hundreds of thousands of rural Americans”.
Huawei and ZTE have repeatedly denied they pose a threat.
Earlier this month, several telecoms associations pleaded with politicians to provide funding to help them comply with a new law mandating they replace all Huawei and ZTE kit.
In a statement accompanying the FCC decision, Commissioner Geoffrey Starks acknowledged funding remained the “missing piece” in the US government’s push for operators to transition away from the Chinese vendors’ equipment.
–Mobile World Live