House E&C Plans Hearing On Huawei Gear Use in U.S. Networks

The House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee will hold a hearing next Tuesday (Sept. 24) on efforts to legislate on removing foreign telecommunications gear from U.S. networks.

“We look forward to pushing ahead with legislation to root-out suspect network equipment nationwide ,” E&C Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said in a joint statement today.

The Sept. 24 session comes amid panel leaders’ talks on how to provide funds to help rural telecom companies ditch gear from Chinese providers like Huawei and ZTE, as POLITICO reported last week. Rural carriers, which chose this equipment for its low cost,fear Trump administration moves to block out Huawei will leave them with hefty bills. Senate Commerce lawmakers this summer approved a measure, S. 1625 (116), that would unleash $700 million to help these rural telecom companies.

“The smaller ones are probably the ones that need the help, and how you draw that line will be a challenge,” E&C ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told POLITICO recently. “There are models here that would work. For the improved communications networks and the increased security, it would be worth the federal investment.”

Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said at a wireless conference today that “any funding should require recipients to observe good cybersecurity practices in the future.”

The panel didn’t announce witnesses for the session, which will also focus on ways to “improve coordination and management of spectrum resources to better serve the American people,” according to Pallone and Doyle.