RWA has filed an ex parte in response to the FCC’s draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking scheduled for consideration at the April 17, 2018 Open Meeting. The NPRM proposes and seeks comment on a rule “to prohibit…the use of USF funds to purchase equipment or services from any communications equipment or service providers identified as posing a national security risk to communications networks or the communications supply chain.”
“RWA shares the Commission’s desire to ensure the security of America’s communications networks, and recognizes the critical role that these communications networks play in protecting public safety and national security,” said Carri Bennet, RWA General Counsel. “However, RWA is concerned that, if adopted, the rule as proposed would not only fail to effectively protect national security; but also shut down broadband services and deter future deployment in many parts of rural America.”
RWA’s ex parte discusses the need to continue the FCC’s efforts put forward by the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) to ensure the security and reliability of the nation’s communications systems – including the security of the supply chain for critical communications infrastructure. RWA further urges the Commission to adopt a comprehensive approach to addressing cyber security concerns applicable to all communications networks in the United States, instead of implementing an ineffectual ban on specific vendors via an eligibility disqualification for universal service support that will have the unintended consequence of harming the current operation and future advancement of broadband services in rural America.