WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday signed into law a bill that provides $1 billion to help small telecom providers replace equipment made by China’s Huawei and ZTE.
The U.S. government considers the Chinese companies a security risk and has pushed its allies not to use Huawei equipment in next-generation cellular networks, known as 5G. Both companies denied that China uses their products for spying.
The Federal Communications Commission has already voted to bar U.S. phone companies from using government subsidies for equipment from the two Chinese companies. This bill affects mostly small, rural companies, because the major U.S. network providers don’t use the Chinese equipment.
The White House said that using untrustworthy vendors to build communications infrastructure threatens national security by exposing networks to actors who are potentially influenced by foreign entities.