FCC sets opening of Huawei/ZTE equipment replacement program

Sept. 28, 2021
As specified in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, providers of “advanced communications services” with no more than 10 million customers can apply.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Wireline Competition Bureau has set 12:00 AM ET Friday, October 29, 2021, as the opening date for application submissions to the the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program. Applications to the $1.9 billion program, which aims to reimburse network operators for the cost of replacing equipment provided by Huawei and ZTE based on their perceived threat to U.S. national security, will be accepted through Friday, January 14, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET.

The replacement and reimbursement program follows determinations by Congress and the FCC that, due to their ties to the Chinese government and other reasons, the use of equipment and services provided by the two Chinese communications technology firms represents a threat to national security (see "FCC still considers Huawei, ZTE, threats to U.S. national security" and "U.S. House Intelligence Committee sees Huawei and ZTE as security threats"). Both companies deny that they act as agents of the Chinese government and that their products present security challenges.

As specified in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, providers of “advanced communications services” with no more than 10 million customers can apply for money to fund the removal, replacement, and disposal of communications equipment or services from acquired from Huawei or ZTE obtained on or before June 30, 2020. Application requests include the filing of an FCC Form 5640 Application Request for Funding Allocation via the Bureau’s dedicated online application filing portal found at https://www.fcc.gov/supplychain.

All applications will be evaluated by the Reimbursement Program Fund Administrator, who will evaluate each submission on the following criteria:

  • whether the application is complete
  • whether the applicant is eligible for the Reimbursement Program
  • the reasonableness of the cost estimates provided by the applicant.

Applicants whose applications are found to be materially deficient will have 15 days to correct any errors or supply missing information. Companies whose applications receive approval will receive a funding allocation commitment with the United States Treasury based on the approved cost estimates for the requirements outlined in the application, then draw from that commitment.

Additional information about the Reimbursement Program application and filing process can be found in the Finalized Reimbursement Process Public Notice as well as on the Reimbursement Program webpage: https://www.fcc.gov/supplychain. Questions also can be directed to the Reimbursement Program Fund Administrator at [email protected] or at (202) 418-7540. A frequently asked questions (FAQs) list is available on https://www.fcc.gov/supplychain.

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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