The program reimburses carriers with fewer than 10 million customers for removing Huawei and ZTE gear from their networks
The Federal Communications Commission will start accepting applications on October 29 for reimbursement for Huawei and ZTE network gear, as part of its $1.9 billion rip-and-replace program.
The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 established the program, and Congress appropriated $1.9 billion to cover the anticipated costs; the FCC just finished up the details of how it will run in early August. The program is designed to reimburse small carriers with 10 million or fewer customers for the cost of removal, replacement and disposal of communications equipment or services in the network “that pose a national security risk,” according to the FCC—in this case, gear or services provided by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE that was purchased on or before June 30, 2020.
The window for filing reimbursement requests will open at midnight Eastern Time on Friday, October 29 and will close at 11:59 PM Eastern Time on January 14, 2022.
Eligible providers have to file an online form, which will be available on the reimbursement program website once the filing window opens on the 29th. Applications will be evaluated once the filing window closes, based on provider eligibility, whether the application information is complete and the reasonableness of the applicant’s cost estimates. Applications that have issues will have 15 days to fix them.
For applications that are granted, the recipients will have a funding allocation through the U.S. Treasury and then must file for reimbursement based on actual expenses.
The FCC has published an FAQ and an infographic about the program details. Both are available here and on its main reimbursement program website. The agency held a webinar on the rip-and-replace reimbursement program yesterday; that is available to view here. There is also a help desk for the program which began operating earlier this month.
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