On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, the Commission released the Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order (“R&O”, “FNPRM”, and “Order”) in the Protecting Against National Security Threats to the Communications Supply Chain proceeding, which was adopted in the November Open Meeting (WC Docket No. 18-89; PS Docket Nos. 19-351, 19-352). The R&O adopts a rule that prospectively prohibits the use of USF funds to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by a “covered company” posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. The FCC initially designates Huawei Technologies Company (“Huawei”) and ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) as covered companies and establishes a process for designating additional covered companies in the future. Comments responding to these initial designations will be due 30 days from publication of the R&O in the Federal Register. Comments should be filed in PS Docket No. 19-351 for the Huawei final designation proceeding, or in PS Docket No. 19-352 for the ZTE final designation proceeding.

The FNPRM seeks comment on additional actions to address national security threats to USF-funded networks, including a proposal to require USF recipients that are eligible telecommunications carriers (“ETCs”) to remove and replace existing equipment and services produced or provided by covered companies. The adopted FNPRM seeks comment on whether the Commission should broaden the prohibition on the use of equipment or services from covered companies to apply to non-USF recipients, as well as expand the removal and replacement requirement, regardless of the use of USF support. The Order adopts an information collection to determine the extent to which equipment and services produced or provided by covered companies exist in communications networks.

On January 3, 2020, the Commission published the Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order in the Federal Register therefore establishing the following effective dates and comment dates:

The R&O and Order are effective today, January 3, 2020.

Comments on the FNPRM are due February 3, 2020. Reply comments are due March 3, 2020. The Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice announcing the above comment and reply comment dates for the FNPRM.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau also released two Public Notices announcing the 30-day comment period for each respective initial designation, due February 3, 2020 (Huawei; ZTE). Comments should be filed in PS Docket No. 19-351 for the Huawei designation proceeding, or in PS Docket No. 19-352 for the ZTE designation proceeding.

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