The competitive carriers association told Congress this week that carriers using government broadband deployment subsidy funds being asked by Congress to replace suspect tech (Huawei and ZTE notably) have access to the money up front.
That money is coming from a new fund created by Congress in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which passed the Senate last week. The bill essentially provides the funding for a program the FCC had already voted to implement removing untrusted suppliers from the subsidized supply chain.
In written testimony for a hearing on 5G network security in the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday (March 4), CCA president Steven K. Berry said that "Such access to needed resources recognizes that networks that were not initially economical to construct absent support mechanisms are unlikely to be able to finance the project management process without resources available long before certification that covered elements have been completely removed."
He says that includes prioritizing replacement of core network and routing tech first, then radio and edge elements.
"While those inside the beltway often refer to the process as “rip and replace,” said Berry, "in practice carriers will typically need to “replace, then rip” to ensure that the consumers served by rural carriers do not lose service."