The current Trump administration may end up having to fork out as much as US$1.8 billion (~RM7.47 billion) to completely remove all telecommunications equipment made by Chinese brands Huawei and ZTE from the inventory of all its carriers, according to a report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Unsurprisingly, the report also addresses some concerns of national security seemingly brought about by the equipment. To recap, the FCC officially struck off both Huawei and ZTE from the proverbial list back in June, stating that their equipment could end up compromising the US’ communications infrastructure. More to the point, the FCC report seems focused on local carriers that received support from the country’s Universal Service Fund. Made to subsidise carriers on a mission of providing coverage in underserved areas.
Also, not surprising is the fact that many of the carriers are crying foul at the order; removing existing Huawei and ZTE equipment and replacing them with something similar from another brand could cost them more than an arm and a leg. Eastern Oregon Telecom, for example, said that it would be slapped with a bill as high as US$1.5 million (~RM6.22 million), just to remove Huawei equipment it initially purchased for US$500000 (~RM2.07 million).
As exorbitant as the bill is, the FCC did also make it clear that approximately US$1.6 billion (~RM6.64 billion) would be eligible for federal reimbursement, although its country’s Congress has yet to allocate the funds necessary for it.