Washington, D.C. –The Rural Wireless Association, Inc. is pleased that the FCC has taken steps today to secure the nation’s communications supply chain. Today’s adoption of the FCC’s Second Report and Order moves our members closer to being able to start the process of replacing Huawei and ZTE in their rural networks. RWA now calls on Congress to appropriate the funding for its members to be able to do so. While the House appropriated $1 billion in July, the Senate has yet to take action and both chambers must reconcile any differences as part of the omnibus budget reconciliation process in the next week. “The FCC’s Second Report & Order does not require the replacement of Huawei and ZTE equipment if the funding doesn’t materialize,” noted Carri Bennet, RWA’s General Counsel. “We need leadership in Congress, not gamesmanship that puts rural residents at risk during the pandemic. Without this funding, our rural wireless carriers in some instances have had to turn down some parts of their networks due to the inability to use their universal service support on their Huawei and ZTE networks, and are therefore unable to support their communities. Having no assurance from Congress that funding will materialize to replace these networks has put our members on pins and needles and threatens their survival. It is disconcerting that Congress would unanimously pass legislation authorizing a reimbursement program to secure our nations communications supply chain and then not take the necessary action to fund it,” she added.