Funding Uncertainties Wreak Havoc for Rural Communications at the Worst Time Possible

By Jeff Johnston

November 2020

Key Points

  • The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks (STCN) Act requires operators to rip and replace all non-compliant equipment in their networks, and prevents them from using Universal Services Funds (USF) to procure noncompliant equipment.
  • STCN includes $1 billion to cover the associated network costs. The funding is not only insufficient, but it has yet to be appropriated by Congress.
  • Affected operators are stuck in a holding pattern as they wait for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to define the rip and replace rules, and for Congress to appropriate the funds.
  • All of this uncertainty is wreaking havoc for affected operators and is putting rural residents at risk of losing critical communication services at the worst possible time.
  • Operators urgently need Congress and the FCC to act so they can do their work to ensure rural residents stay connected.

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