Equipment Ban Creates Static for Rural Telecom Operators

By Jeff Johnston

June 2019

Key Points

  • Rural operators will be the ones hurt the most by the executive order, which will likely soon ban U.S. telecom operators from buying Huawei-made telecom equipment.
  • A complete rip and replace of Huawei equipment will be expensive and disruptive to network operations, both short- and long-term.
  • Proposed legislation would provide up to $700 million in government support to help pay for the cost to replace Huawei equipment. CoBank estimates that the actual costs could top $1 billion.
  • Operators forced to replace equipment should implement a more vendor-agnostic approach through a network virtualization strategy.
  • Without significant government support, rural America’s access to communication services will be damaged.

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