The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Monday prohibiting the use of governmental funds to buy communications equipment from companies that are “posing national security risks” to American networks, including Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
“Securing our networks from malicious foreign interference is critical to America’s wireless future”, read a statement from members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who were behind the bipartisan bill known as the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act.
“Companies like Huawei and its affiliates pose a significant threat to America’s commercial and security interests because a lot of communications providers rely heavily on their equipment”, the lawmakers said.
The bill will not only prohibit the use of federal funds managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from buying telecom equipment from "any company that poses a national security risk", potentially such as Huawei, Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment (ZTE), and any subsidiaries, but also establishes a reimbursement programme to assist with the costs of replacing prohibited telecommunications equipment with more “secure” technologies. The programme will potentially cost $1 billion, The Hill reports.
The bipartisan legislation will now require a Senate vote.