On February 22, 2021, the FCC issued a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Notice”) in the matter of Protecting Against National Security Threats to the Communications Supply Chain Through FCC Programs, which had previously been adopted at the FCC’s February Open Meeting.  The Notice proposes to modify the FCC’s rules consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) to expedite removal of harmful equipment and services from the nation’s communications networks.  The FCC seeks comment on the following proposals:

 

  • Raising the cap on eligibility for participation in the Reimbursement Program to providers of advanced communications services with 10 million or fewer customers, consistent with the requirements of the CAA;
  • Modifying the acceptable use of reimbursement funds to include only the removal, replacement, and disposal of equipment and services subject to the June 30, 2020 Huawei and ZTE Designation Orders, consistent with the CAA;
  • Amending the FCC’s timing requirement to allow recipients to use reimbursement funds to remove, replace, or dispose of equipment or services that were purchased, rented, leased, or otherwise obtained on or before June 30, 2020;
  • Replacing the prioritization scheme adopted in the FCC’s Supply Chain Second Report and Order with the prioritization categories set forth in the CAA and whether to adopt subcategories within the prioritization scheme; and
  • Aligning the definition of “provider of advanced communications service” in the FCC’s rules with the broader definition set fourth in the CAA.

 

Comments will be due 21 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. 

Reply comments will be due 35 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

 

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