President Donald Trump Thursday signed into law H.R. 4998, the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. Supporters say the measure will protect U.S. communications networks from security threats presented by foreign suppliers, such as Huawei and ZTE.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) issued a joint statement: “Securing our networks from malicious foreign interference is critical to America’s wireless future, especially as some communications providers rely on equipment from companies like Huawei that pose an immense threat to America’s national and economic security.”
“With the President signing this important, bipartisan bill into law, we can take steps to protect our communications networks from bad actors, while helping small and rural providers remove and replace suspect network equipment. We look forward to continuing to work together to protect our communications networks, keep Americans safe, and bolster our national security in today’s interconnected world,” the lawmakers said.
In the Senate, Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) said: “This legislation lays the foundation to help U.S. firms strip out vulnerable equipment and replace it with secure alternatives. Today marks an important victory for our economy and national security.”
- Prohibit the FCC from subsidizing the acquisition or maintenance of telecommunications equipment or services from untrusted suppliers.
- Create a program to reimburse telecommunications providers with fewer than two million customers. These providers will remove equipment from their networks that poses a national security risk to replace it with equipment from trusted suppliers.
- Establish an information sharing program for telecommunications providers, particularly small and rural operators, to obtain information regarding potential security risks and vulnerabilities to their networks.
H.R. 4998 is companion legislation to the United States 5G Leadership Act of 2019, S. 1625, introduced by Chairman Wicker along with Sens. Tom Cotton, R-AR, Mark Warner, D-VA, Ed Markey, D-MA, and Dan Sullivan, R-AK. The bill was reported out of the Commerce Committee in July 2019, and passed the Senate in February.