The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it will open the application filing window for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program on Oct. 29 and close it on Jan. 14, 2022.
The reimbursement program was established as part of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 and will be managed by the Wireline Competition Bureau. Through the reimbursement program, the FCC will use $1.9 billion in Federal funding to reimburse providers of advanced communications services with ten million or fewer customers for costs incurred in the removal, replacement, and disposal of covered communications equipment or services from their networks that pose a national security risk.
The program is intended to help telecommunication providers remove equipment and services produced or provided by China-based Huawei and ZTE, two companies that have come under scrutiny for being potential national security risks. Reimbursement will only be available for equipment or services obtained before June 30, 2020.
After the filing window closes, applications will be evaluated by the Reimbursement Program Fund Administrator based on three criteria: whether the application is complete, whether the applicant is eligible for the Reimbursement Program, and the reasonableness of the cost estimates provided by the applicant. Approved applications will receive a funding allocation commitment with the United States Treasury based on the approved cost estimates for removing, replacing, and disposing of eligible covered communications equipment and services. Following the allocation commitment, telecom providers can then file to receive funding disbursements from their allocation for actual expenses incurred through the Reimbursement Program’s reimbursement claim request filing process.
The FCC also released an infographic for the program highlighting key information and application deadlines along with the public notice.