In line with recent decisions to ban Huawei infrastructure from cellular network deployments, the U.S. senate decided to create a US$1 billion fund in February 2020 to help rural carriers replace Huawei infrastructure in their networks with vendor equipment that does not pose a national security threat. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has argued that this amount should be elevated to US$2 billion in order to ensure that these networks maintain the highest quality during a crisis, when telecom networks play a vital role and even become life critical. According to industry research, this bill affects a dozen Tier-3 rural carriers across the United States, which will have to swap out approximately 2,000 Huawei base stations and replace them with either Ericsson or Nokia equipment. However, several executives from these rural carriers have been in discussions with both vendors for several months, citing that equipment costs need to lower even further for this US$1 billion to be enough.
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