September 29, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission has announced the claims process for carriers with less than ten million customers, some schools, libraries and healthcare providers to get access to a 1.9-billion-dollar fund for the purpose of removing Huawei and ZTE network equipment.
The public notice from the FCC labeled the Chinese broadband companies as national security risks. Though the FCC marked five Chinese companies as security threats in March, only technology from Huawei and ZTE is eligible for reimbursement for removal as of yet. The FCC also published a FAQ document for parties inquiring into the costs, labor or technology that will be reimbursed.
That document states that, “the Reimbursement Program aims to secure the nation’s communications supply chain and protect national security by reimbursing eligible Providers for the removal, replacement, and disposal of communications equipment and services that pose a threat to the security of our nation’s communications networks.”
The application window stretches from October 29th to January 14th.
Utopia Fiber Joins the Bozeman Fiber FTTP Project
Utopia Fiber has announced at a press conference held at the Broadband Communities Summit that they will be serving as operational partner on the Bozeman Fiber Fiber-to-the-Premises project.
The project has a budget of $65 million and plans to give 22,000 businesses and homes in Bozeman, Montana, access to high-speed fiber (speeds of up to 100 Gbps for business and 10 Gbps for residential).
Roger Timmerman, executive director of UTOPIA Fiber, made note that the infrastructure investment will help support the future demand of smart city projects.
Kimberly McKinley, deputy director of UTOPIA Fiber, stated that she believes their open-access model should and would serve as an example for many other communities whether rural, urban or suburban. Multiple internet service providers will lease space on the network and compete on the basis of their customer service and price.
The FCC Rolls Out Its Robocall Mitigation Database
Phone numbers unlisted in the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Database will now be blocked.
Intermediate providers and voice service providers are tasked with denying provider’s traffic should that provider not have their certification and other required information listed in the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Database.
“The FCC is using every tool we can to combat malicious robocalls and spoofing – from substantial fines on bad actors to policy changes to technical innovations like STIR/SHAKEN,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standards are protocols which help digitally authenticate phone calls for the purpose of combatting spoofing and robocalls. If a voice service provider is short of fully implemented STIR/SHAKEN protocol, they are tasked with detailing the robocall mitigation steps they are taking to the FCC.
Over 4,500 providers have entered the Robocall Mitigation Database. Robocalls typically target older Americans. The FCC still warns that consumers should be on alert for robocalls and scams.