The U.S. has long held suspicions about Huawei and last year filed criminal charges in two cases against the company, seeking the extradition of its CFO, who had been arrested in Canada.
In their statements, the senators echoed the need for Western alternatives in 5G technology to ensure access to secure and reliable communications networks.
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would pump more than $1 billion into developing Western 5G equipment alternatives to China’s Huawei.
Reasoning that Huawei has been “h]eavily subsidized by the Chinese government,” the Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act would help Western firms compete and become a robust player in next generation communication technology, according to a press release sent by the office of Sen. Mark Warker, D-Va., a co-sponsor of the bill.
The U.S. has long held national security concerns and suspicions about Huawei’s ties to the country’s Communist Party leadership. Last year, it placed the company on a blacklist prohibiting U.S. companies from doing business with the firm without a special license.
The bill proposes that the Federal Communications Commission direct at least $750 million or up to 5% of annual auction proceeds from new auctioned spectrum licenses to create an open-architecture model (O-RAN) research and development fund. The fund would be managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with input from other agencies.
Another $500 million would become a Multilateral Telecommunications Security Fund, which would be available for 10 years “to accelerate the adoption of trusted and secure equipment globally and to encourage multilateral participation.” The fund would be created in conjunction with foreign partners and would require reports to Congress on how the money was being used.
The bill would also encourage the U.S. to further its leadership in International Standard Setting Bodies to help set guidelines on telecommunications and work to make Huawei alternatives more affordable through various policies.
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