Some Rural Areas Could Lose Cell Service Soon. Here’s What You Need to Know!

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Rural and Indigenous communities could lose cell service. Why?

Well, a 2019 law that was designed to remove Chinese-made equipment from US telecom networks is why.

The plan was supposed to come with a reimbursement package for local companies in this “rip-and-replace” saga.

But guess what? Many are still waiting for those promised funds.

Back in May 2019, an executive order was created that banned American providers from buying telecom supplies from any “foreign adversary” nations.

The fear was that China could use tech from companies like Huawei and ZTE to spy on US telecom infrastructure.

Chinese firms have been pushing back and insisting that these fears are overblown. But just how real are these threats?

The Washington Post said companies like Verizon and Sprint have been saying no to Huawei and ZTE gear for ages. However, smaller companies use many Chinese products and software because they are budget-friendly.

The “rip-and-replace” program is still happening under President Biden’s watch, but these smaller companies fend for themselves. Small US companies are struggling.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote a letter to Congress and revealed that about 40% of local network operators are stuck with their Huawei and ZTE gear unless the government helps with funding.

$1.9 billion has already been approved, but the latest FCC estimates say they need an extra $3 billion to cover this nationwide.

Jessica Rosenworcel also wrote that providers currently have between May 29th, 2024, and February 4th, 2025, to complete the transitions.

For a telecom company to qualify for this funding they must provide coverage for UNDER 2 million customers.

The Commission stands ready to assist Congress in any efforts to fully fund the Reimbursement Program.

Jessica Rosenworcel

If this funding isn’t taken care of, states such as Tennessee, Kansas, and Oklahoma could be affected by the loss of cell service.

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