WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Rural Wireless Association, Inc. sent a letter to the leadership of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, requesting that Congress quickly appropriate funds for the implementation of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act's (Secure Networks Act) reimbursement program. As determined by Congress, the Administration and the FCC, these rural carriers' Huawei and ZTE equipment currently pose a threat to U.S. national security, yet without the appropriation of funds to replace the equipment, carriers are stuck with no way to move forward and no way to keep their current networks supported and maintained.
Swift appropriation of funding to implement the law is needed. In addition to removing the perceived security threat, the funds appropriated will boost employment opportunities for Americans and ensure that rural Americans stay connected to broadband services during the COVID-19 pandemic. If legislators wait until the fiscal year 2021 appropriations process to release the needed funding, it will place undue stress on these rural carriers' networks and will threaten the continued availability of critical services to the communities they serve.