Senators Unveil $1.2 Billion Plan to Develop Alternatives to Huawei’s 5G Equipment


The bill aims to give operators more flexibility in building their networks and introduce more competition among providers by having the Federal Communications Commission require equipment meet standards of interoperability—as described by associations like the Open Radio Access Network Alliance—so that various networking interfaces can work together.

The bill calls for the FCC to put 5% or $750 million—whichever is greater—of proceeds from companies’ competitive bidding for the use of electromagnetic spectrum over the next five years toward a new “Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund.” The NTIA would then award grants up to $20 million for entities “promoting development and inclusion of security features enhancing the integrity and availability of equipment in multi-vendor networks,” for example.

The bill would also tap spectrum auction proceeds to create the $500 million “Multilateral Telecommunications Fund,” controlled by the Secretary of State. But money from that fund “may only be allocated upon the Secretary of State reaching an agreement with foreign government partners to participate in the common funding mechanism.”

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