The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act would help small and rural providers pay to replace equipment from Huawei, ZTE and other foreign vendors with safer alternatives.

Article referenced from NextGov

By Jack Corrigan,
Staff Correspondent

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to devote $1 billion to purging the country’s telecom infrastructure of equipment manufactured by Huawei and other foreign companies that the government identifies as national security threats.

The funds, which would be provided under the newly proposed Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, would help small and rural providers replace compromised telecom equipment with safer alternatives. Under the bill, the Federal Communications Commission would be responsible for distributing the money and ensuring recipients comply with the law.

The FCC would also be responsible for maintaining a list of foreign manufacturers and service providers that U.S. companies must eradicate from their infrastructure. The bill explicitly prohibits equipment produced by Huawei and ZTE, as well as any other company that “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.”

The legislation, introduced last week by Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., Greg Walden, R-Ore., Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., would ban organizations from using federal funds to buy equipment from prohibited vendors.

The bill comes as government officials look to cleanse the American telecom market of Chinese companies, which intelligence officials have warned could act as conduits for government espionage.