U.S. needs $3 billion more to remove Huawei, ZTE from U.S. networks, regulator says

The U.S. telecoms regulator needs an additional $3 billion dollars to fund the removal from U.S. networks of equipment made by Chinese telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE (000063.SZ), bringing the total cost to $4.9 billion, the agency told Congress on Friday.

“To fund all reasonable and supported cost estimates…, the Reimbursement Program will require $4.98 billion, reflecting a current shortfall of $3.08 billion,” Jessica Rosenworcel, the chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, said Friday in a letter to Senator Maria Cantwell, who heads the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Since Congress only appropriated $1.9 billion to fund the removal process, companies would be reimbursed for only about 40% of the costs, she added.

In 2019, Congress passed a law tasking the FCC with compelling U.S. telecoms carriers that receive federal subsidies to purge their networks of telecoms equipment that poses a national security risk, with promises of reimbursement.