Representative Ashley Hinson (R-IA) introduced the House companion to a Senate measure to fully fund the FCC’s Rip & Replace reimbursement program. The Defend Our Networks Act would make up the $3.08 billion shortfall in the program to reimburse small, rural carriers for the removal, replacement and disposal of Huawei and ZTE gear from their mobile networks.
The measure would fund Rip & Replace using unspent and unallocated COVID-19 relief emergency funds. Specifically, the legislation would reallocate roughly three percent of the COVID-19 money for the reimbursement program within 90 days of the Act’s enactment.
“Chinese technology is embedded in communications networks across the United States, giving the Chinese Communist Party backdoor access to Americans’ personal information and sensitive data,” said Hinson. “If communication flows through Huawei or ZTE equipment, it should be treated as if it is being downloaded back to a server in Beijing with a full access pass for the CCP regime. The Defend Our Networks Act will ensure compromised Chinese telecom equipment is replaced with secure systems so that Americans, especially those in rural areas, have secure, reliable, and private connectivity,” Hinson explained.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief