U.S. lawmakers will allocate $ 1.9 billion to fund a telecommunications network device removal program that the U.S. government says will be a national one under a $ 900 billion COVID-19 relief bill Represents security risk.
Legislators will also allocate $ 3.2 billion in an emergency broadband service for low-income Americans, senior congressional aides confirmed after Reuters first reported planned broadband spending.
The COVID-19 Relief Act is investing $ 7 billion to improve broadband access, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic chairman Chuck Schumer said in a statement. The low-income program will “help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford broadband.” they need during the pandemic. “
The Federal Communications Commission announced in June that it had officially identified China’s Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp as a threat. This statement prevents U.S. firms from drawing on a $ 8.3 billion government fund to buy equipment from the companies.
Earlier this month, the FCC laid down rules that require network operators with ZTE or Huawei devices to “tear up and replace” those devices while awaiting funding from Congress.
Huawei said earlier this month it was disappointed with the FCC’s decision to “force the removal of our products from telecommunications networks. This overreach puts US citizens in the largely underserved rural areas at risk – during a pandemic – when reliable communications are essential.”
The bill “envisages a temporary emergency broadband benefit program with the FCC to help low-income Americans, including those economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, connect or stay connected to broadband,” said the bill a fact sheet consulted by Reuters.
The source also said the program will provide a $ 50 monthly grant to qualified households “to help them afford broadband service and an Internet-connected device.”
The bill also extends eligibility for the rip-and-replace reimbursement program to communications providers with 10 million subscribers or fewer, but prioritizes reimbursement for providers with 2 million subscribers or fewer, the source said, citing a draft fact sheet.
The bill includes $ 285 million to connect minority communities and establish an office for broadband initiatives for minorities with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
It will also provide funding to “support educational institutions that serve minorities, including as they work with minority-owned companies to expand broadband capacity and use in the school and the surrounding community,” Reuters said published information sheet.
It also includes approximately $ 250 million for additional FCC support for telemedicine and $ 1 billion for an NTIA program to provide broadband connectivity for tribal connections.
There is a separate NTIA grant program of $ 300 million to support broadband expansion for underserved Americans, especially in rural areas, and $ 65 million for better broadband cards.
This will fully fund the development of new, more accurate broadband availability cards by the FCC so that the agency can better leverage government funding for broadband delivery.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)