U.S. House panel unveiled bipartisan legislation this week that would authorize $1 billion for small and rural wireless providers to replace network equipment from companies including Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp that lawmakers say pose a national security risk.
The legislation is similar to a bill approved in July by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that would authorize about $700 million in grants to remove Huawei equipment, in a bid to boost the security of the U.S. telecommunication network’s supply chain.
The top Democrats and Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said in a joint statement the bill would protect the “nation’s communications networks from foreign adversaries by helping small and rural wireless providers root-out suspect network equipment and replace it with more secure equipment.”
About a dozen rural U.S. telecom carriers that depend on Huawei for network gear were in discussions with its biggest rivals, Ericsson and Nokia, to replace their Chinese equipment. The panel will hold a hearing on the bill Friday.