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Huawei 'rip and replace' price tag doubles to $2B amid coronavirus outbreak

March 26, 2020 / Lightreading

The FCC's chairman is asking Congress for $2 billion to fund a program that help operators replace Huawei's equipment in US networks. That figure is double the amount initially approved by President Trump earlier this month. In a letter to Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) dated March 14, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requested $2 billion, plus $5 million in administration expenses, for the agency's "rip and replace" program for Huawei and ZTE equipment. Pai requested that the senator add the expense into the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that was passed by the Senate Wednesday. According to reports, the bill is expected to be passed by the House Friday and signed into law by President Trump immediately thereafter. Importantly, the current version of the legislation does not allocate any money to the FCC for the Huawei rip and replace program. However, it does include $200 million for the agency to support telehealth and telemedicine services.