The Senate has approved a bipartisan bill to protect U.S. telecommunication networks from foreign adversaries. The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 would bar the Federal Communications Commission from offering subsidies with regard to the maintenance and acquisition of telecommunications services or equipment from untrusted vendors.
“By establishing a ‘rip and replace’ program, this legislation will provide meaningful safeguards for our communications networks and more secure connections for Americans,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the bill’s sponsor and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said in a statement published Thursday. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to help move this bill to the President’s desk.”
The bill would establish a reimbursement program to help telecom companies with less than 2 million subscribers replace or remove from their networks equipment or services that pose a national security risk and develop an information sharing program to allow small and rural telecom operators to gain access and share data on potential security vulnerabilities facing their networks.
House lawmakers introduced a similar measure in September.