Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announcement that, after collecting extensive data from carriers, it has determined $1.6 billion is needed to fund the “rip and replace” program enacted as part of the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act:
“My Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, signed into law earlier this year, calls for small carriers to be reimbursed for the costs of replacing suspect communications equipment from companies like Huawei and ZTE. The FCC’s estimate of the costs of replacing suspect equipment in U.S. networks shows just how prevalent suspect equipment is – particularly among smaller carriers who cannot afford to replace it on their own. That’s why it’s critical Congress fund the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act’s rip and replace program to secure our communications supply chain.
“Suspect equipment introduces vulnerabilities into our communications networks, allowing hostile foreign governments to engage in espionage or to disrupt our communications at the push of a button. The risks are real and cannot be ignored, which is why Congress must step up and fund this reimbursement program.
“We must also remain vigilant in identifying emerging risks, requiring network security by design, fostering information sharing between government and industry and working with our international partners. Promoting new, secure technologies is also critical to our long-term national security, which is why I am committed to seeing my USA Telecommunication Act become law. Congress must continue to take an active, bipartisan role in tackling this issue head-on.”
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