US President Donald Trump signed legislation on Thursday that stops telecom carriers from using government funds to buy network equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Initially, the Chinese technology company’s equipment was deemed a threat to national security under a draft of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) then decided in November 2019 to bar the use of its $8.5 billion a year Universal Service Fund for purchasing equipment and services from the Chinese companies.
“This legislation will help protect our telecommunications infrastructure by prohibiting the use of Federal funds to purchase equipment from companies that pose a national security threat,” a White House briefing release said on Thursday.
In addition, the law requires the FCC to make a program to help smaller providers with the cost of ripping out and replacing the prohibited equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
The US House of Representativeson Dec. 16, with the Senate passing it in February. The and ZTE last month to help it reimburse smaller and rural carriers for those costs.
Huawei and ZTE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.