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FCC to Declare Suspect Tech Item Fills Hill Bill

The FCC plans to signal to Congress that the commission's ongoing procedure to prevent broadband subsidy money from being used to subsidize suspect tech in U.S. networks effectively implements Congress's subsequent mandate to do the same thing. 

That is according to the FCC's agenda for the July 16 public meeting. 

The FCC back in November 2019 voted to ban the use of Universal Service Funds for equipment or services from companies that pose a national security threat to networks or the supply chain, initially tentatively concluding that at least two companies, Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE, met that definition. 

The President signed the Hill bill March 12, a bill that sounded pretty redundant, but also provided its bipartisan imprimatur on the FCC action. 

Related: FCC Seeks Comment on Excluding Suspect Tech 

The FCC will vote on a declaratory ruling that concludes that the FCC order fulfills its obligation to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act (Secure Networks Act), which put Congress' stake in ground the FCC had already plowed and planted. 

The FCC item also includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking comment on implementing other sections of the act.  

One thing both the FCC and Congress anticipated was a further effort to rip and replace suspect tech from existing networks. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said when announcing the item that he hoped Congress will follow up with an estimated $2 billion to pay for "small, rural carriers" to scrub that insecure equipment. The Hill bill had anticipated that figure at $1 billion.